For more than a decade, Comcast has been leading efforts in our communities to promote digital equity and access in part by connecting low-income families to the internet through Internet Essentials, the largest and most comprehensive, low-cost internet adoption program in the United States. This program aims to be a wrap-around approach to address the barriers to connectivity many families face.
Mary Spillane, community impact director for the Comcast Mountain West Region, commented on the company’s initiative, “We’ve been on a mission over the last 10 years to close the digital divide and help families in Southern Colorado and across the state stay connected through programs like Internet Essentials. During the global pandemic, when the need has been greater than ever before, we are providing meaningful connection to the communities we serve in a variety of ways, including free Internet Essentials service to new customers for 60 days; giving everyone access to 1.5 million public and outdoor Wi-Fi hotspots for free; working with cities and schools to connect large numbers of K-12 students to the internet at home; and providing free Wi-Fi at hundreds of community centers through our Lift Zone program. We remain steadfast in our commitment to support digital equity and help families in need stay connected.”
Comcast is advancing equitable access to the internet and closing the digital divide by focusing on a few simple, albeit important factors: price, low barriers to entry, and consistent connectivity and speed.
Since the Internet Essentials program launched in 2011, the price of monthly internet services has remained steady at $9.95 per month. Also, Comcast does not require a term contract, credit check, or equipment rental fees. In the last 12 months, the company increased the speed of their Internet Essentials service twice, most recently to 50 megabits per second (Mbps) downstream (up from 25 Mbps) and 5 Mbps upstream (up from 3 Mbps).
Over this past year, individuals and families experienced just how important a consistent, fast home internet connection is - particularly as we learn and work at home. Comcast is easing this burden on both educators and students.
Christine O’Brien, public information officer for Harrison School District 2, believes Comcast has been instrumental to her work; she said, “Harrison District 2 appreciated Comcast and the Internet Essentials opportunity afforded to all our families and staff. We could not have provided the quality of instruction and innovative approaches to eLearning during a pandemic without them.”
Comcast is on a mission to bridge the digital divide. The company has provided more than $40 million in cash to education and equity-focused partners sharing the company’s goals.
Going beyond education, Comcast is helping local organizations within the Colorado Springs community.
Maurice Henson, director of Operations at the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Pikes Peak Region, said his partnership with Comcast has been instrumental to serving the youth in the area. He continued, “Without partners like Comcast, it makes the work that we do a lot more cumbersome and even impossible. … We’ve been fortunate Comcast partnered with us to help us bolster our internet using Lift Zones. With upgraded wireless capabilities, we were able to embark on distance learning day schools, and this is something we wouldn’t have been able to accomplish otherwise.”
The folks over at Comcast deliver on their commitment to education and digital equity, and they don’t have plans to stop. To learn more about Comcast’s initiatives to bridge the internet gap for all families, visit corporate.comcast.com/education.