Comcast’s Internet Essentials Program Has Now Connected More Than 10 Million People Over the Past 10 Years, Including 1.3 Million in Florida Alone
On the 10th anniversary of its Internet Essentials program, Comcast today announced 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. The announcement coincides with the release of a 10-year Progress Report showing that, since 2011, the company, working in collaboration with its network of thousands of nonprofit partners, has connected a cumulative total of more than 10 million people in America to broadband Internet at home, the overwhelming majority of whom were not connected prior to signing up.
The state of Florida ranks second in Comcast’s service area for lifetime connections to Internet Essentials with approximately 1,360,000 low-income individuals connected in the past ten years.
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. In South Florida, 18 Lift Zones are already open in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties.
In addition to capturing the total number of connections Internet Essentials has provided, the 10-Year Progress Report also highlights other key metrics about the program, including having:
- Increased the program’s Internet 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.