2023: A Year of Expanding Our Accessibility Impact
We’ve had a fulfilling year for accessibility at Comcast. Building upon over a decade of work, this year brought us greater reach, more impact, and continued partnerships in our work to promote accessibility and inclusion for our customers and employees. Below are some of our biggest accomplishments from 2023.
Bringing American Sign Language Interpreting to More Customers
This year, we broadened our support for our Deaf and hard of hearing customers. We expanded our partnership with Communication Service for the Deaf (CSD), who power our existing ASL NOW customer service line, which has received encouraging feedback from users. One customer shared, "…this service equates to full accessibility as can be, not just the ASL part but also the cultural. I called to drop the scheduled tech appointment and the whole process felt like I was understood in every aspect. It is amazing!"
With such positive experiences for our customers, we worked with CSD to extend this impact and become the first retailer in our industry to offer live American Sign Language video remote interpreting services in our Xfinity retail stores. We kicked off the pilot in Philadelphia, PA; St. Augustine, FL; Frederick, MD; and San Jose, CA, and will continue to roll it out to more stores across the country in 2024.
Solutions through Innovation with our Xfinity Large Button Remote
Building on the launch of our award-winning Large Button Voice Remote at the end of 2022, this year, we’ve distributed it to tens of thousands more customers with vision, mobility, and dexterity impairments, enabling them to enjoy their Xfinity home entertainment experience more fully. This remote embodies our approach to developing solutions through innovation, as part of our mission to create more accessible products that are better for everyone.
Making our Entertainment Experience More Accessible
This year, Xumo, the Comcast and Charter joint venture, launched its 4K streaming device, Xumo Stream Box, across the country to Spectrum and Xfinity customers, and will be coming to Mediacom customers. The Xumo Stream Box allows us to extend the core entertainment accessibility features embedded within our global technology platform to millions more users, including voice guidance (talking guide experience), voice remote, closed captioning, audio description, and more, all while improving the experience for everyone else as well.
And for our customers with physical and speech disabilities, including ALS, we continued to work with Team Gleason to promote and advance our Xfinity Adaptive Web Remote. This year, we made it easier than ever to add and use buttons for popular features and streaming services, or custom buttons for any voice command.
Continuing our Commitment to an Inclusive Company Culture
Our commitment to all customers stems from our company culture, which prioritizes equity and inclusion, and we are honored to be recognized for our work in this area too. This year, we were recognized by Disability:IN as a Best Place to Work for Disability Inclusion for the ninth consecutive year and Comcast was also named a 2023 Leading Disability Employer by the National Organization on Disability.
We also had the pleasure of hosting human rights lawyer and disability justice advocate, Haben Girma, to participate in our DE&I Speaker Series in observance of National Disability Employment Awareness Month. In her inspiring talk, she shared personal examples of using innovation to create solutions for her everyday life that also benefit everyone.
Continuing the momentum
As we look ahead to 2024, we’re taking stock of the progress we’ve made and gearing up for more. At the Paris 2024 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games, Comcast NBCUniversal will provide live audio description on NBC primetime Olympics and all Paralympic broadcasts, along with continued expansion of NBCUniversal’s Paralympic coverage. We’ll be able to leverage this platform to raise even further awareness about accessibility and inclusion.
And that’s not all. We’re preparing for a year of creating even more avenues to inclusion to connect more people to the moments that matter through our content experience and technology platforms.
Tom Wlodkowski is Vice President of Accessibility at Comcast.