By Rodrigo Lopez, Region Senior Vice President – Comcast Washington
The gap between people who benefit from using online resources and those who are not is called the digital divide, and it exists in underserved communities throughout Washington state. For over a decade, we’ve worked hard to address this challenge and have connected more than 140,000 households in Washington to high-speed Internet at home, many for the first time, through our Internet Essentials program.
Internet Essentials addresses the barriers to internet adoption through free digital literacy training resources, the option to purchase a discounted computer, and low-cost, high-speed Internet for under ten dollars a month, plus tax. Through this program, we’ve been able to connect students, families, and communities needing affordable internet resources. But more needs to be done.
Comcast plays a vital role in helping connect people online, and that includes offering solutions both in and outside of the home. Now, through our participation in the federal government’s Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), we have an unprecedented opportunity to help more than 450,000 people in Washington connect to the Internet both at home and on the go.
Nearly a half a million Washington residents may benefit from access to the Internet through programs like ACP, which offer a $30/month discount on Internet service ($75/month on Tribal lands). Any Xfinity Internet or Internet Essentials customer who qualifies can use it to save money on their Internet bill and take advantage of these offers.
Comcast has introduced two new ways for people to connect through ACP, and the $30/month ACP benefit can be applied to any tier of Xfinity Internet service. Eligible customers in Comcast’s service areas can sign up for Internet Essentials Plus, which includes 100 Mbps download speeds, a cable modem/WiFi router device, and is free after the government’s ACP credit is applied. Additionally, Xfinity Internet customers participating in ACP can add mobile service through Xfinity Mobile, which includes 5G and automatically connects to millions of Xfinity WiFi hotspots across the country to reduce customers’ dependence on cellular and save money.
Signing up for ACP
New and existing Xfinity Internet or Internet Essentials customers can visit www.xfinity.com/acp or call 844-389-4681 for more information to determine eligibility and sign up. Customers can also call to speak to a dedicated ACP Enrollment and Support Center from 8 AM to 12 AM daily, with multi-lingual capabilities to assist anyone interested in the program.
Other Connectivity Options
We know that thousands of Washingtonians also depend on community centers for access to the Internet, and our Lift Zone initiative aims to address that need. Through our Lift Zone initiative, we have equipped 92 community centers with free internet service throughout the state. Lift Zones provide thousands of Washington residents with locations to access online education, healthcare, and employment resources.
This year, some of our Lift Zones will also receive a state-of-the-art technology makeover from Comcast, including new laptops and technology that will help our community partners offer job skills training, education, computer classes, internships, and more. Lift Zones in Washington may be found at: https://www.internetessentials.com/learningSearchPage.
Connecting more people to the Internet and the technology they need to participate and excel in an increasingly digital world has been a core focus for Comcast. Looking toward the next ten years, Comcast is building on that foundation and expanding its impact through Project UP, a comprehensive initiative to advance digital equity and help build a future of unlimited possibilities.
Backed by a $1 billion commitment to reach tens of millions of people, Project UP encompasses the programs and community partnerships across Comcast, NBCUniversal, and Sky that connect people to the Internet, advance economic mobility, and open doors for the next generation of innovators, entrepreneurs, storytellers, and creators. For more information on Project UP and the latest news on efforts to address digital inequities, visit https://corporate.comcast.com/impact/project-up.
For more information about Internet Essentials and Comcast’s commitment to education and digital equity, please visit https://corporate.comcast.com/education. Families and households can apply for the program at www.internetessentials.com or by phone at 1-855-846-8376 for English or 1-855-765-6995 for Spanish.