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. Comcast invested more than $9.5 million in 2023 to advance digital equity and promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in the Pacific Northwest.
- Comcast increased its funding and support to Digital Navigators in 2023, affiliated with trusted community organizations trained to help people access the internet, use devices, and build digital skills. Digital Navigators 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.
Digital Navigators help income-constrained individuals and households sign up for low-cost, high-speed broadband through Internet Essentials.
Of people who’ve received help from Digital Navigators, 1 in 3 found a new job or increased their income, and 40% received support with basic needs like food, rent, and housing. That is why Comcast invests directly in community-based initiatives and programs to support Digital Navigator and broadband adoption efforts in the Pacific Northwest as part of Project UP, the company’s comprehensive initiative to advance digital equity.
Comcast’s Digital Navigator partners in Oregon and Washington include Seattle Housing Authority, United Congolese Community Organization of Oregon, Community Services Network, Native American Youth and Family Center, and more. Our work with these partners helps launch and scale up their efforts to help expand access to digital skills programs and get people in the Pacific Northwest connected to the internet.
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.
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.
The Communities We Serve
Comcast seeks to develop deep community partnerships that help promote goodwill and create a lasting impact on our state. We serve and partner with groups including, but limited to, Women, LGBTQ, Hispanic/Latinx, Indigenous/Urban India, Black Americans, Asian Pacific Americans, Veterans and Military Families, Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (I/DD) and low-income/vulnerable families.
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 nearly 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. Some of Lift Zones have also receive state-of-the-art technology makeovers 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.
Washington Lift Zone Locations
“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.”