On the 10th anniversary of the launch of our Internet Essentials program, we’re proud to share that we have connected 560,000 low-income individuals statewide to broadband internet over the last decade, including 336,000 people in the greater Puget Sound area, and more than 60,000 individuals in Spokane, the largest community we serve in Eastern Washington. We are also happy to unveil new plans to support low-income residents with more digital tools and resources over the next decade, as a part of a $1 billion nationwide initiative to impact 50 million people.
This commitment consists of local investments in Washington state that include distributing more than $750,000 in funding, as well as computer and technology donations to nonprofits serving disadvantaged Washingtonians. Comcast will also invest in the growth of its Lift Zone initiative to establish WiFi-connected safe spaces for those needing internet access in 80 community centers statewide by the end of 2021. The company has unveiled 30 Lift Zones in King, Snohomish, Pierce, Island and Spokane counties since fall 2020. These locations offer Internet connectivity to students and families that lack broadband access in the home. Over the last decade the top 10 cities benefiting most from this program:
- Federal Way
- Spokane Valley
In addition to the total number of connections Internet Essentials has provided, other key metrics about the program and its impact statewide include:
- Increased Internet Essentials speeds six times, from 1.5 Mbps in 2011 to 50 Mbps today, without ever-increasing the price of the program, which has remained $9.95/month.
- Participated in the Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) K-12 Internet Access Program to help students and families connect to school online during the 2020-2021 school year.
- Developed an Internet Essentials Partnership Program that offers subsidized broadband service through hundreds of schools to help connect thousands of students to the Internet during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Offered 60 days of free Internet service to any new Internet Essentials customer who needed to get online during the coronavirus outbreak.
- Opened more than 70,000 public WiFi hotspots for people to connect to during the current pandemic.
- Built an online learning center that includes more than 200 digital literacy training videos, guides, and reports that are free to anyone to use, including non-customers.
- Developed a national employee network of 3,000 Internet Essentials Ambassadors who volunteer their time to help spread the word about the program in their communities.
Our commitments are projected to impact as many as 50 million Americans over the next 10 years. In 2021 alone, Comcast estimates students throughout the nation will be able to complete more than 25 million hours of remote learning lessons to further address the “homework gap” at the hundreds of Lift Zone locations that have already opened or will open soon. Comcast Lift Zones are an extension of the company’s Internet Essentials program, the largest and most comprehensive low-cost Internet adoption program for low-income Americans.
This news comes on the heels of a series of initiatives announced during the COVID-19 pandemic that reinforced the company’s commitment to addressing the digital divide and the homework gap by upping speeds to 50 Mbps downstream without changing the program’s $9.95/month price. The company also continues to offer 60 days of free Internet service to new Internet Essentials customers who sign up before June 30, 2021.
For more information on this announcement and Comcast’s Internet Essentials 10-year anniversary and $1 billion please visit our official headquarters site.