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More Than 10 Million People Connected Nationwide
Portland, OR --News Direct-- Comcast West Division
Comcast Cable Commits to Investing $1 Billion Over Next 10 Years to Reach 50 Million Low-Income Americans With Tools and Resources to Succeed in Digital World
On the 10th anniversary of its Internet Essentials program, Comcast today announced it has connected more than 10 million people over the past ten years. Of that number, more than 340,000 are in Comcast’s Oregon/SW Washington region.
The Portland metro area, including Hillsboro and Vancouver, comprise the bulk of that number, with 244,000 people connected through Internet Essentials over the decade. Internet Essentials offers internet access for low-income families and individuals for $9.95 per month, along with digital literacy training programs and access to low-cost computers.
"Internet Essentials is bold and responsive,” said David Tashjian, Regional Vice President of Comcast Oregon/SW Washington. “It was a big idea when it was first conceived more than a decade ago. And it has evolved to meet the needs of our community, increasing speeds and broadening availability, all at the same price as when it was launched in 2011.”
Ten years ago, Governor Brown (then serving as Oregon Secretary of State) joined with Comcast and other local leaders for the launch of the Internet Essentials program. Today, after a year in which a record numbers of families have benefited from Internet Essentials, the Governor spoke about the shared focus on closing the digital divide, “This past year has shown us that high-speed internet access, regardless of income level or zip code, has never been more important. It facilitates distance learning for our kids, and is a driver of economic opportunity at a time when remote work is becoming widely adopted. But the fact is, not everyone can afford it, and equitable, affordable, and high-speed access is critical. This is why I’m committed to investing in broadband expansion statewide—in both rural and urban communities that currently lack access—with a focus on providing access to communities that have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic and last year’s historic wildfires. I am pleased that Comcast is also focused on further closing the digital divide,” said Oregon Governor Kate Brown.
“Congratulations to Comcast on the 10-year birthday of Internet Essentials,” said Paul Lumley, Executive Director of NAYA. “NAYA was one of the original community partners at the launch of this impactful program. The need for connectivity has never been more obvious, and I commend Comcast for the positive impact they’ve made on the Native community through Internet Essentials.”
“Internet Essentials has made a huge impact on the lives of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities,” said Angela Phinney, assistance executive director of The Arc of Lane County. “Many of the people The Arc serves lack internet access to due to financial constraints. Internet Essentials has opened their lives to a whole new world. Having internet allows adults with disabilities to apply for jobs online, build social networks, and enjoy opportunities that many of us take for granted.”
"Internet Essentials has been extremely beneficial to our families,” said Rachel Schutz, Vice-President of the Portland Boys and Girls Clubs. “It’s clear, now more than ever, that internet is a basic household necessity, and enabling access for everyone is critical. With Internet Essentials, parents are able to get their children online for school, and themselves online for work, with as few barriers as possible.”
Comcast Corporation also announced today that it would 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.
“While progress has been made on digital equity, the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us that more needs to be done to truly close the digital divide,” said Multnomah County Commissioner Jessica Vega Pederson. “I’m pleased that Comcast is extending their commitment to connecting the unconnected with another 10 years of investment so more people can be successful in this digital world.”
Comcast’s $1 billion commitment will include investments in a number of critical areas, including: additional support for its ongoing Lift Zone initiative, which establishes WiFi-connected safe spaces in 1,000+ community centers nationwide for students and adults by the end of 2021; 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.
“Ten years is a remarkable milestone, signifying an extraordinary amount of work and collaboration with our incredible community partners across the country,” said Dave Watson, Chief Executive Officer, Comcast Cable. “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.”
Other salient facts:
Comcast has increased Internet Essentials speeds six times, from 1.5 Mbps in 2011 to 50 Mbps today, without ever increasing the price of the program, which has remained $9.95/month.
Launched its Lift Zones program, which aims to connect more than 1,000 community centers with free WiFi by the end of 2021.
Developed an Internet Essentials Partnership Program that has signed up hundreds of schools, school districts, and other organizations that have come together to help connect tens of thousands of students to the Internet during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Offered 60 days of free Internet service to any new Internet Essentials customer who needed to get online during the coronavirus outbreak.
Expanded the number of languages our Internet Essentials call center agents can speak to more than 240, plus American Sign Language, to help ensure we break down language barriers that can prevent people from applying or getting online.
Built up an online learning center that includes more than 200 digital literacy training videos, guides, and reports that are free to anyone to use, including non-customers.
Developed an employee network of 3,000 Internet Essentials Ambassadors who volunteer their time to help spread the word about the program in their communities.
This new commitment comes on the heels of a series of initiatives announced during the COVID-19 pandemic that reinforced the company’s commitment to addressing the digital divide and the homework gap by upping speeds to 50 Mbps downstream without changing the program’s $9.95/month price. The company also continues to offer 60 days of free Internet service to new Internet Essentials customers who sign up before June 30, 2021.
About Internet Essentials
Internet Essentials is Comcast’s signature digital equity initiative and the nation’s largest and most comprehensive broadband adoption program. In 10 years, it has helped connect 10 million low-income Americans to broadband Internet at home, most for the very first time. Internet Essentials has a comprehensive design that addresses each of the three major barriers to broadband adoption. This includes: multiple options to access free digital literacy training in print, online, and in person; the option to purchase a heavily subsidized, low-cost Internet-ready computer; and low-cost, high-speed Internet service for $9.95 a month, plus tax. The program is structured as a partnership between Comcast and tens of thousands of school districts, libraries, elected officials, and nonprofit community partners. Comcast has never raised the price of the program. For more information about Internet Essentials and Comcast’s commitment to education and digital equity, please visit https://corporate.comcast.com/education. To apply, visit www.internetessentials.com or call 1-855-846-8376 for English or 1-855-765-6995 for Spanish.
About Comcast Corporation
Comcast Corporation (Nasdaq: CMCSA) is a global media and technology company that connects people to moments that matter. We are principally focused on broadband, aggregation, and streaming with over 56 million customer relationships across the United States and Europe. We deliver broadband, wireless, and video through our Xfinity, Comcast Business, and Sky brands; create, distribute, and stream leading entertainment, sports, and news through Universal Filmed Entertainment Group, Universal Studio Group, Sky Studios, the NBC and Telemundo broadcast networks, Peacock, NBC News, NBC Sports, Sky News, and Sky Sports; and provide memorable experiences at Universal Parks and Resorts in the United States and Asia. Visit www.comcastcorporation.com for more information.
Comcast Oregon/SW Washington
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