Well before the pandemic, we understood that access to an Internet connection is fundamental to the well-being of children and families in Washington. For nearly a decade, our Internet Essentials program has helped change lives by providing more than 85,000 low-income families with internet access in our state. We knew then – like we know now – that disadvantaged families and students were already suffering from the impact of inequitable educational opportunity – and were particularly at risk of falling even further behind.
As Washington’s leading broadband internet provider, we are committed to doing our part to get everyone the Internet connectivity they need. We are taking the next major step in this commitment by helping connect students to the internet so they can fully participate in digital education opportunities. In partnership with Spokane Public Schools (SPS) and the Washington Childcare Centers Association (WCCA), as well as Boys and Girls Clubs of Snohomish County, we are launching our first 23 Wi-Fi Lift Zones in Spokane and Snohomish Counties.
Working with these partners and civic leaders, Comcast is providing robust WiFi coverage at 12 Boys and Girls Clubs of Snohomish County and in 11 childcare centers in Spokane County that will help thousands of students get online, participate in distance learning and do their homework. This initiative provides free connectivity inside the following partner community centers for the next three years:
- Bright Stars Early Learning Center – 2703 W Northwest Blvd, Spokane 99205
- Pacific Park Children’s Center – 5421 W Barnes Rd, Spokane 99208
- Destiny Kids Early Learning Center – 2008 W. Northwest Blvd, Spokane 99205
- Liberty Park Community Development Center – 1417 E Hartson Ave, Spokane 99202
- North Avenue Early Learning – 1002 E North Avenue, Spokane 99207
- Salish School of Spokane – 4125 N Maple, Spokane 99205
- Ascend to The Heights Child Development Center – 116 W Indiana Ave, Spokane 99205
- Just Imagine Child Care Center – 406 E Rowan Avenue, Spokane 99207
- Green Gable Children’s Learning Center – “415 E Holland Ave., Spokane, WA 99218
- Clown Town Children’s Center – 3622 S Regal St., Spokane 99223
- Spokane Family Promise – multiple locations throughout Spokane
- Alderwood Club – 19719 24th Ave W #10, Lynnwood, WA 98036
- Cascade Club – 7600 Cascade Drive, Everett, WA 98203
- Coupeville Club – 203 N. Main Street, Coupeville, WA 98239
- Edmonds Club – 310 6th Ave N, PO Box 172, Edmonds, WA 98020
- Everett Club – 2316 12th St., Everett, WA 98201
- Granite Falls Club – 110 S Alder Ave., Granite Falls, WA 98252
- Bargreen Lake Stevens Club – 1609 E. Lakeshore Dr., Lake Stevens, WA 98258
- Marysville Club – 1010 Beach Ave., Marysville, WA 98270
- Mukilteo Club – 10600 47th Place West, Mukilteo, WA 98275
- Oak Harbor Club – 98 NE Barron Drive, Oak Harbor, WA 98277
- South Everett/Mukilteo Club – 525 West Casino Rd., Everett, WA 98204
- Trailside Club – 1300 100th Pl SE., Everett, WA 98208
These openings are a part of our broader plan to equip more than 30 different locations in Washington with WiFi-connected “Lift Zones” over the next few months. And, additional Lift Zones sites are currently under consideration for King, Island, Pierce Snohomish and Spokane counties, with the goal to have all locations installed by early 2021.
Long time early learning supporter, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05) offered her appreciation of the initiative saying, “Today’s announcement is welcome news for students and families in Spokane who have been struggling with connectivity for distance learning during these uncertain times. I’m grateful my office was able to play a role in fostering this important partnership and applaud Comcast for working collaboratively with our partners at Spokane Public Schools and bringing their innovative Lift Zones and Internet Essentials programs to our community. I will continue to lead in Congress to help close the digital divide in rural and underserved communities, so students can do their schoolwork, patients can access tele-health, and everyone has access to the digital economy.”
The COVID-19 crisis has put many low-income students at risk of being left behind and has accelerated the need for comprehensive digital equity and Internet adoption programs to support them. Lift Zones are intended to help those students who, for a variety of reasons, may be unable to connect to distance learning at home, or who just want another place in which to study. Over the coming months, the initiative will provide not only free Internet connectivity, but also access to hundreds of hours of educational and digital skills content to help families and site coordinators navigate online learning.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the stark disparities in access to reliable broadband and internet-enabled devices, especially in rural and tribal communities. Our ability to work, teach, and learn from home increasingly relies on having access to these resources,” said Congresswoman Suzan DelBene (WA-01). “The Lift Zones at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Snohomish County will help address the homework gap and promote digital equity by providing students with the technology they need to learn during this pandemic and beyond. Lack of an internet connection should never get in the way of a good education.”