We know that having access to the Internet along with the tools and information necessary to navigate the digital world are critical to closing the opportunity gap. But, the unfortunate reality is that not everyone has the resources and skills they need. For more than a decade, we have used our platforms and reach to help bridge the digital divide by connecting more people to the Internet and getting devices into the hands of people who need them. We also work with our network of partners to help address barriers to adoption that go beyond affordability, including a lack of awareness that low-income broadband programs exist and a lack of digital skills. By working together to expand broadband adoption, we can help close the homework gap, advance economic mobility, and achieve digital equity.
To help bridge the digital divide, we launched Internet Essentials in 2011 to bring affordable, high-speed Internet to low-income families – and in over 10 years, we’ve connected more than 10 million Americans. In 2022, we signed on to participate in the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) designed to help low-income households connect and stay connected to the Internet by providing an up to $30 subsidy to pay for Internet service, covering the full cost of both Internet Essentials and Internet Essentials Plus for eligible families.
Together with nonprofit partners and city leaders, we have created more than 1,000 award-winning Lift Zones in community centers nationwide to provide students and families with free, high-capacity WiFi. Lift Zones offer not only free Internet connectivity, but also access to hundreds of hours of educational and digital skills content to help families and site coordinators navigate online learning.
We know that Digital Navigators – trusted voices for those who don’t know where to sign up for Internet service, get a device, or connect to skills training and other resources – are critical to closing the digital divide and reducing socioeconomic inequalities. That’s why we are investing directly in community-based initiatives and programs to launch, support, and scale Digital Navigator and broadband adoption efforts across the country.
We know that equitable access to skills and development opportunities is essential to building and supporting the future workforce, yet it remains a barrier to millions. From creating equitable pathways to technology roles, to supporting young journalists, to opening doors for new voices and stories to be shared, we can help foster the next generation of innovators, creators, and storytellers.
Too often, business leaders and young innovators don’t have the funding or resources to bring their ideas to life and excel in a digital world. By equipping entrepreneurs and small business owners with the skills, digital resources, and opportunities they need to thrive, we can empower them create their own success and achieve long-term growth. Together with partners like the Echoing Green, Native Women Lead, Prospera, StartOut, Ureeka, and Walker’s Legacy, we’re also committed to making sure the next generation has an entrepreneurial mindset and the tools they need to bring their ideas to life.
Comcast RISE stands for “Representation, Investment, Strength, and Empowerment,” and was created in 2020 to strengthen and empower small businesses hard hit by COVID-19 through monetary, technology, and marketing grants. Over its two-year term, Comcast RISE is proud to have awarded over $110 million in cash and in-kind support to 13,000 entrepreneurs nationwide.
LIFT Labs gives talented entrepreneurs access to Comcast NBCUniversal’s network of partners, brands, and mentors to foster rapid breakthroughs in media, entertainment, and connectivity.