Comcast announces plan to bring free internet to community centers

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The program is intended to ensure that low-income students have internet access

Comcast has announced that it will roll out 1,000 free Wi-Fi “Lift Zones” in community centers across the U.S. in an effort to make sure low-income students have access to the internet.

The free Wi-Fi zones will initially be established in Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Denver, Detroit, Miami, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle, Trenton, Minnesota's Twin Cities, and Washington, D.C.

“These Lift Zones, which will be installed in community centers in local neighborhoods that our partners have identified and will run, will be places where students and families can get online and access the resources they need, especially while so many schools and workplaces have gone virtual,” Dave Watson, Comcast’s President and CEO, said in a statement.

Closing the homework gap

With virtual learning in full swing due to the coronavirus, wireless carriers have unveiled initiatives meant to help close the digital divide. T-Mobile announced recently that it’s accepting applications for its “Project 10Million” plan, through which it plans to provide free internet connectivity to 10 million underserved student households. 

Comcast said its plan to bring free Wi-Fi to local community centers will be a multi-year effort. In addition to free internet connectivity, the carrier said it will provide access to “hundreds of hours of educational and digital skills content to help families and site coordinators navigate online learning” at Lift Zones.

“What we’ve learned throughout this pandemic is that although at-home Internet connectivity is the number one barrier to remote or hybrid learning, connectivity is only one barrier that prevents our nation’s kids from logging in and participating,” said Evan Marwell, CEO and Founder of Education SuperHighway. 

“No one single answer alone will solve this problem. These Lift Zones can offer families much needed support when at-home connectivity is either not available or the student is unable to participate in their home environment.”

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