As the world becomes more digital, it’s Comcast’s goal to ensure that everyone can participate and excel in today’s society. We have been committed to creating and supporting digital equity within the communities we serve for more than 10 years. Last year, Comcast invested nearly $1 million in Washington to advance digital equity and promote diversity, equity, and inclusion throughout the state.
Digital Navigators, individuals affiliated with trusted community organizations who are trained to help people access the Internet, use devices, and build digital skills, are critical to closing the digital divide and reducing socioeconomic inequalities by helping more people get online, according to the findings of a Boston Consulting Group study.
A Digital Navigator helps people get online and make the most of it. They can help someone:
– Sign up for Internet service
– Get a device
– Connect to skills training and other resources
Digital Navigators are part of community-based organizations. They’re a trusted voice for those who don’t know where to start. They help open the door to opportunity and economic mobility. Of people who’ve received help from Digital Navigators:
– 1 in 3 found a new job or increased their income
– 40% received support with basic needs like food, rent, and housing
That is why Comcast is investing directly in community-based initiatives and programs to support Digital Navigator and broadband adoption efforts in Washington as part of Project UP, the company’s comprehensive initiative to advance digital equity. Comcast’s Digital Navigator partners in Washington include MMRTI, Seattle Housing Authority, the Muckleshoot Tribe and more. Our work with these partners helps launch and scale up their efforts to help get more people in Washington connected to the Internet at home and expand access to digital skills programs.
Connecting people to the internet and the online resources it provides are critical priorities for Comcast. 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 160,000 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.
Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP)
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.
Internet connectivity is more important now than ever before and we work with dozens of partners across Washington, including nonprofits and city leaders, to provide digital skills training so everyone can benefit from the opportunities that come from being online. Working side by side with local non-profit partners like Operation Military Family, Boys & Girls Clubs, Goodwill, YWCA, The Carl Maxey Center, Mary’s Place, Asian Counseling and Referral Service, Easterseals, and many more, we are seeking to advance digital equity throughout the state.
These charitable organizations and Comcast share the same commitment – to provide our communities with the tools, resources, and skills needed to succeed in a digital world. Our contribution of funds, laptop computers, technology makeovers, and free internet service to these organizations are a part of our $1 million investment in Washington this year to advance digital equity and promote diversity, equity, and inclusion throughout the state.
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 more than 90 Lift Zones 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.
This initiative will provide free hotspot connectivity. Providing access to hundreds of hours of educational and digital skills content to help families and site coordinators navigate online learning. Lift Zones complement Comcast’s Internet Essentials program, which, since 2011, has helped connect more than 8 million low-income people to the Internet at home.
The Lift Zones initiative comes on the heels of Comcast’s recent launch of its new “Internet Essentials Partnership Program,” which focuses on enabling cities, school districts, and community based organizations to connect large numbers of low-income students to the Internet at home to support distance learning.
“For nearly a decade, Internet Essentials has helped to change the lives of millions of people by providing low-income families with Internet access at home.”