The purpose of a lift zone
Comcast announced in late 2020 it was setting up over 1,000 locations with Wi-Fi connected “Lift Zones” throughout the country. The purpose of this program is to create a safe place for community members, particularly students, to have a place to go during the COVID-19 pandemic to access Wi-Fi.
While the main purpose of these Comcast Lift Zones is to provide Wi-Fi access, it is also designed to help students keep-up in school by providing hundreds of hours of educational content to help students and their families navigate online learning.
In fact, Comcast has invested over $650 million in digital literacy training for students and their families. Some of these resources are even available to the public on Comcast’s website.
When and where will these lift zones be available?
Comcast plans to have all 1,000 locations ready by the end of 2021. The first locations that opened were in community centers in Baltimore, Chicago, Philadelphia, Trenton and the Twin Cities. Comcast has partnered with school districts, libraries, elected officials and nonprofits to find spaces for these Lift Zones.
As of now, Comcast has stated that the Wi-Fi hotspots they have rolled out throughout the country will remain available for at least the next three years.
The COVID-19 crisis continues to put many low-income students at risk of being left behind, accelerating the need for comprehensive digital equity and internet adoption programs to support them. We hope these Lift Zones will help those students who, for a variety of reasons, are unable to connect to effective distance learning at home.
Comcast’s internet essentials program
Although Comcast only began the Comcast Life Zone program in 2020 as a way to address internet access disparities during the COVID-19 pandemic, Comcast has been helping connect low-income families to home internet for a decade.
In 2011, Comcast started the Internet Essentials program, which provides affordable home internet service to low-income families. As of 2020, Comcast was able to provide over eight million households with affordable internet service and over 100,000 households with subsidized computers.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Comcast offered low-income families access to 25 Mbps for just $9.95/mo. Since the start of the pandemic, however, Comcast began providing up to 50 Mbps for the same price. In fact, Comcast has not raised its pricing for the Internet Essentials program once in the past decade.
Comast’s Lift Zone and Internet Essentials program is part of a $1 billion investment over the next 10 years to help close the digital divide. Evan Marwell, CEO and Founder of Education SuperHighway, commented on the complexity of the digital divide,
“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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Written by:Ari Howard
Associate Writer, Broadband & Wireless Content
Ari is an Associate Writer for the Allconnect team. She primarily writes about broadband news and studies, particularly relating to internet access, digital safety, broadband-related technology and the digital d… Read more
Edited by:Robin Layton
Editor, Broadband Content
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