FRESNO, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--As part of its ongoing commitment to help connect low-income individuals to the Internet so they can fully participate in educational opportunities and the digital economy, Comcast today announced initial plans to equip 10 Fresno Housing and Boys & Girls Clubs of Fresno County locations throughout the Central Valley with WiFi-connected “Lift Zones” over the coming months. Additional sites will be added over time. By providing robust WiFi coverage at safe spaces, Comcast intends to help thousands of low-income students get online, participate in distance learning and do their homework.
In addition to providing free WiFi service at the Lift Zone locations, Comcast donated $50,000 to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Fresno County to offer distance learning to more students and another $50,000 to Fresno Housing to help residents with digital literacy training and support. Comcast will also provide 225 Boys & Girls Clubs of Fresno County youth with a laptop computer, free Internet at home for 12 months (to eligible families) through its Internet Essentials program and a box with $100 worth of food.
“Lift Zones” feature free WiFi provided by Comcast, which allows students to work on laptops simultaneously so they can successfully participate in distance learning. This initiative provides free connectivity inside partner community centers for the next three years. By donating 225 laptops and 12 months of free Internet at home, Comcast and Telemundo are creating a seamless learning experience for children in the Central Valley.
“While some children can participate in distance learning at home, the children of essential workers and others may not have that privilege,” said John Gauder, Senior Vice President, Comcast California. “By providing free WiFi access at these Lift Zones, combined with a free laptop and free Internet access at home, we can ensure that the students can actively participate in classwork and complete assignments wherever they are. As a result, all these children can receive the best possible education and be set up for a more equitable, prosperous future.”
“The COVID-19 pandemic is having a disproportionate effect on our rural communities,” said Congressmember Jim Costa (CA-16). “The lack of internet access in these areas adds undue stress on families that are trying to balance telework and children's distance learning. I’m pleased that Comcast has prioritized the Central Valley for this important initiative to help residents and children during this crisis.”
“The COVID-19 pandemic has shown the inequities not only in our health care system but in the digital divide that greatly impacts our most vulnerable communities,” said Assemblymember Dr. Joaquin Arambula (District 31). “Too many children in low-income neighborhoods and disadvantaged rural and unincorporated areas have been left behind in their education because they don’t have access to the internet, Wi-Fi, and/or devices. I’m grateful to Comcast for its generous commitment. It is a step in the right direction to keep these children and families connected and focused on a brighter future.”
“The COVID-19 crisis continues to put many low-income students at risk of being left behind. This Comcast commitment will accelerate a solution for comprehensive, digital equity and Internet adoption programs to support them,” said Diane Carbray, President/CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Fresno County. “We hope these Lift Zones from Comcast will help students who have been unable to fully participate in the current educational experience due to constraints of distance learning or a variety of other reasons that are outside of their control.”
“Fresno Housing’s mission is to create vibrant communities, build quality affordable housing, and support the success of approximately 50,000 residents throughout Fresno county,” said Preston Prince, CEO of Fresno Housing. “This partnership with Comcast is coming at a critical time, when there is so much need among our communities, and will help support our ongoing broadband improvement efforts. The global pandemic has disproportionately impacted communities of color and has put numerous children at risk of missing out on important educational opportunities. We are grateful to collaborate with Comcast to ease the struggle among our families and provide them with the support they need to be successful, especially in these challenging times.”
Lift Zone sites complement Comcast’s Internet Essentials program, which has helped connect more than 8 million low-income people to the Internet at home. This includes more than one million residents across California, which is the number one state in terms of overall participation in the Internet Essentials program.
About Comcast Corporation
Comcast Corporation (Nasdaq: CMCSA) is a global media and technology company with three primary businesses: Comcast Cable, NBCUniversal, and Sky. Comcast Cable is one of the United States’ largest video, high-speed Internet, and phone providers to residential customers under the Xfinity brand, and also provides these services to businesses. It also provides wireless and security and automation services to residential customers under the Xfinity brand. NBCUniversal is global and operates news, entertainment and sports cable networks, the NBC and Telemundo broadcast networks, television production operations, television station groups, Universal Pictures, and Universal Parks and Resorts. Sky is one of Europe's leading media and entertainment companies, connecting customers to a broad range of video content through its pay television services. It also provides communications services, including residential high-speed Internet, phone, and wireless services. Sky operates the Sky News broadcast network and sports and entertainment networks, produces original content, and has exclusive content rights. Visit www.comcastcorporation.com for more information.