Comcast announced today plans to establish its first 12 WiFi-connected “Lift Zones” in Detroit by year end.
The COVID-19 crisis has put many low-income students at risk of being left behind and has accelerated the need for comprehensive digital equity and Internet adoption programs to support them. Lift Zones are designed to help those students who, for a variety of reasons, are unable to connect to distance learning at home.
Comcast will provide robust WiFi hotspots in safe spaces designed to help students get online, participate in distance learning and do their homework. Many of these sites also serve adults and can connect them to online adult education, job searches, healthcare information and public assistance. This initiative provides free hotspot connectivity inside the community centers and access to hundreds of hours of digital skills content to help families and site coordinators navigate online learning.
The first 12 Lift Zones include:
Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeastern Michigan: Lloyd H. Diehl Club: 4242 Collingwood Street
Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeastern Michigan: Dick & Sandy Dauch Campus: 16500 Tireman Street
Detroit Blight Busters: 17340 Lahser Road
Detroit Boxing Gym: 6445 East Vernor Highway
Detroit Hispanic Development Corporation: 1211 Trumbull Street
Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries – Men’s Shelter: 3606 Third Street
Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries – Women’s Shelter: 12900 West Chicago Street
Franklin Wright Settlements: 7375 Woodward Avenue
Latin Americans for Social and Economic Development, Inc.: 7150 Vernor Highway
City Covenant Church (Mission: City): 20405 Schoolcraft
Matrix Human Services: Social Mobility Center: 13560 East McNichols Road
Say Detroit Play Center:19320 Van Dyke Avenue
“Our vision is to ensure that every Detroiter is fully digitally included, improving the quality of life for all residents,” said Joshua Edmonds, director of digital inclusion, City of Detroit and the Connect 313 digital inclusion strategy. “Connect 313 and Comcast share a passion for bridging the digital divide, and our partnership will ensure these Lift Zone locations will reach as many Detroiters who need them as possible.”
Last month, Comcast announced a multiyear program to launch more than 1,000 WiFi-connected Lift Zones in community centers nationwide. This effort is part of the company’s ongoing commitment to help connect low-income families to the Internet and provide resources to help them fully participate in educational opportunities and the digital economy.
“Solving a problem as vast and complex as the digital divide requires collaboration with schools, elected officials, nonprofit community partners and other private-sector companies,” said Tim Collins, senior vice president of Comcast’s Heartland Region. “Since 2011 when Comcast launched its Internet Essentials program, we’ve been fortunate to partner with other local organizations who share our passion for digital equity, like Connect 313.”
In nearly 10 years, Internet Essentials has become the nation’s largest and most successful low-income Internet adoption program and has connected millions of people to the Internet. It offers households low-cost, broadband Internet service for $9.95/month, the option to purchase a heavily subsidized computer and multiple options for free digital literacy training. Earlier this year, Comcast committed to providing 60 days of free Internet Essentials service for qualifying low-income families through the end of 2020. Additionally, the company increased speeds for all new and existing Internet Essentials customers at no additional cost.