Comcast announced today the opening of its first WiFi-connected “Lift Zone” in Lansing at the Boys and Girls Club of Lansing located at 4315 Pleasant Grove Road. After completing the launch of its first 20 WiFi-connected “Lift Zones” in Detroit in early January, the company continues to expand its program to help bridge the digital divide by establishing more locations across Michigan.
Comcast provides free robust WiFi hotspots in safe spaces designed to help students get online, participate in distance learning and do their homework. Lift Zones also serve adults and can connect them to online adult education, job searches, healthcare information and public assistance. These sites offer access to hundreds of hours of digital skills content to help families and site coordinators navigate online learning.
“The students we serve face many obstacles in their lives, especially now during the pandemic,” said Carmen Turner, President and Chief Executive Officer of The Boys and Girls Club of Lansing. “Access to the Internet is crucial and we are proud to join Comcast to create a safe place where youth can connect, learn and have the opportunity to succeed in school utilizing the Club’s Learning Lab.”
In March, Comcast announced it will invest $1 billion over the next 10 years to help further close the digital divide and give even more low-income Americans the tools and resources they need to succeed in an increasingly digital world.
Comcast’s $1 billion commitment includes investments in a number of critical areas, including: additional support for its ongoing Lift Zone initiative; new laptop and computer donations; grants for nonprofit community organizations to create opportunities for low-income Americans, particularly in media, technology, and entrepreneurship; and continued investment in the company’s landmark Internet Essentials program. It is estimated that these new commitments will impact as many as 50 million Americans over the next 10 years. In 2021 alone, Comcast estimates students will be able to complete more than 25 million hours of remote learning lessons to further address the “homework gap” at the hundreds of Lift Zone locations that have already opened or will open soon.
“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 in Michigan. “Since 2011 when Comcast launched its Internet Essentials program, we’ve been fortunate to partner with other local organizations which share our passion for digital equity, like the Boys and Girls Club of Lansing.”
In 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.