Just over 10 years ago, Comcast began an unprecedented journey to help connect under-resourced and unconnected Americans to the life-changing power of the Internet. Each year, we deliver an annual progress report so our customers, community-based partners, government officials, and employees, can dive deeper into how Internet Essentials is making a difference in the lives of millions of people around the country. This year’s report not only tells the story of how we joined together with our nonprofit and government partners to help our communities navigate the challenges of remote school and work and a socially distanced everyday life, it also provides examples and best practices for others to do the same.
Even as the nation recovers from the effects of the pandemic, we are continuing our efforts to expand digital equity across our service area, including widespread initiatives to raise awareness about the FCC’s Affordable Connectivity Program, a monthly subsidy of up to $30/month to pay for broadband service and the key role of Digital Navigators – individuals affiliated with trusted community organizations who are trained to help people access the Internet, use devices, and build digital skills – in helping to connect the unconnected. We’re expanding our Lift Zone initiative by supporting increased programming and by adding new Lift Zones in Kansas City, Fresno, and Chicago, along with dozens of other communities. Meanwhile, we have continued to expand the core Internet Essentials experience to spread awareness of the benefits of a home connection and the skills to take advantage of the world of opportunity the Internet provides—we are working harder than ever to bring even more fresh solutions to an old challenge.
Over the next 10 years, we are committed to expanding our impact through Project UP, our comprehensive initiative to advance digital equity and help build a future of unlimited possibilities. Backed by a $1 billion commitment to reach tens of millions of people, Project UP encompasses the programs and community partnerships—including Internet Essentials and Lift Zones—across Comcast, NBCUniversal, and Sky that connect people to the Internet, advance economic mobility, and open doors for the next generation of innovators, entrepreneurs, storytellers, and creators.
We know there are challenges ahead but we are incredibly excited by what the future has in store. Whether it’s sending one of our technicians to connect a new family to Internet Essentials, opening a new Lift Zone in a neighborhood community center, or working with our nonprofit, government, and community partners around the nation to implement ACP, we are as ready as ever to bring the life-changing power of the Internet to as many people around the country as possible.
Working with the Boston Consulting Group, Comcast recently commissioned an impactful study on the key role Digital Navigators can play in connecting the unconnected. Watch our deep dive into the study findings and hear from a Digital Navigator program and client in our Internet Essentials Partner Webinar: “A Human Approach to Closing the Digital Divide”.
Thank you to all our partners for making this program possible. We hope you’ll join us in taking a moment to reflect on what we’ve accomplished together and consider the lessons we’ve learned along the way as we build on our work, together.