Comcast announced it would invest $1 billion over the next 10 years to help close the digital divide and give low-income Americans the tools to succeed in the digital world.
The announcement coincides with the 10-year anniversary of its Internet Essentials program. The $1 billion commitment will include additional support of its Lift Zone initiative. The initiative will establish Wi-Fi-connected safe spaces in more than 1,000 community centers across the nation by the end of this year.
The initiative will also donate computers, give grants to nonprofit community organizations to create opportunities in media, technology, and entrepreneurship. Additionally, the cable and internet giant will continue its investment in the Internet Essentials program.
Comcast estimates its new commitments will positively impact more than 50 million Americans over the next decade. This year alone, students at all education levels will complete more than 25 million hours of remote instruction to close the homework gap thanks to Comcast.
“Ten years is a remarkable milestone, signifying an extraordinary amount of work and collaboration with our incredible community partners across the country,” Comcast Chief Executive Officer Dave Watson said in a release. “Together, we have been able to connect millions of people to the power of the Internet at home, and to the endless opportunity, education, growth, and discovery it provides. Today, we are rededicating ourselves to this mission to ensure that the next generation of students in America has the tools, resources, and abilities they need to succeed in an increasingly digital world.”
Comcast’s Internet Essentials program has been paramount to helping children continue their education during the coronavirus pandemic. Over the last decade, Comcast has increased the internet speeds of its Internet Essential program six times, 1.5 Mbps in 2011 to 50 Mbps today, while keeping the price of service at $9.99 a month.
Comcast also offered two months of free service to new Internet Essentials members who needed to get online during the beginning of the pandemic. The cable giant also created and developed an online learning center that includes more than 200 digital literacy training videos. The center includes guides and reports that are free for anyone to use, including non-customers.
“For a decade Comcast’s Internet Essentials program has provided Latino families with tools and resources to access high-speed Internet at home. Hispanic Federation has been proud to partner with Comcast and work with this program to bridge the digital divide and offer Latino communities the opportunity to access health, educational, and economic resources online,” Brent Wilkes, senior vice president at the Hispanic Federation said. “We look forward to the next ten years of partnership with Comcast as we tackle more challenges in our ever-changing digital world.”