Comcast and the City of Philadelphia today announced that 26 of the City’s Parks & Recreation Centers will be upgraded to WiFi-connected “Lift Zones.” Lift Zones are equipped with high capacity WiFi so dozens of students can get online simultaneously to participate in distance learning during the day and do homework in the afternoon and evening. Currently being used as Access Centers for the School District of Philadelphia, these Lift Zones will serve more than 35,000 community members for years to come – well beyond the current COVID-19 crisis.
“Our Parks & Recreation centers are anchors of our communities where Philadelphians of all ages access critical services year-round,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “Having high capacity WiFi at our busiest rec centers is a game-changer for our residents, especially families that rely on them for virtual learning and other youth programs. This effort will go a long way in helping connect neighborhoods and I thank Comcast for their continued partnership.”
The following Parks & Recreation Centers will be upgraded to Comcast Business Gigabit speeds:
- Albert Cherashore Playground
- Cobbs Creek Recreation Center
- East Passyunk Community Recreation Center
- Ernest L. Tustin Playground
- Francis J. Myers Recreation Center
- George C. Pelbano Playground
- Hawthorne Cultural Center
- Holmesburg Recreation Center
- Hunting Park Recreation Center
- Francis Finnegan Playground
- James Lee Wright Recreation Center
- Lawncrest Recreation Center
- Lower Mayfair Playground
- Marian Anderson Recreation Center
- Martin Luther King Recreation Center
- Mayfair Recreation Center
- Ofcr Daniel Boyle Mem Recreation Center
- Olney Recreation Center
- Parkside-Evans Recreation Center
- Penrose Playground
- Samuel Recreation Center
- Simons Youth Center & Teen Center
- Simpson Recreation Center
- Stenton Park Playground
- Vogt Recreation Center
- William A. Lackman Memorial Playground
Earlier today, Comcast announced a multiyear program to create more than 1,000 “Lift Zones” in community centers in local neighborhoods nationwide that will provide safe spaces for students and families to learn and work remotely. This effort is part of Comcast’s ongoing, multifaceted commitment to help connect low-income families to all the opportunities of a digital world and provide the skills and resources needed for success.
“Lift Zones complement the work we’re doing through Internet Essentials and our efforts through partner programs like PHLConnectED,” said Jim Samaha, regional senior vice president of Comcast’s Freedom Region, which serves Greater Philadelphia, New Jersey and northern Delaware. “These spaces will fill a gap for families experiencing challenges with housing, or other issues, or for anyone who needs a place to get online and access the resources they need.”
The effort is designed to complement Comcast’s Internet Essentials program, which has become the nation’s largest and most successful in-home broadband adoption initiative, connecting millions of low-income people to the Internet.
This announcement follows on the heels of Comcast’s participation in PHLConnectED, a collaborative effort to connect Philadelphia K-12 households with no-cost, in-home Internet service as well as devices.
The COVID-19 crisis has left many low-income K-12 students exposed and has accelerated the need for comprehensive digital equity and Internet adoption programs to support our nation’s students and families. LiftZones are designed to help those who don’t have a safe or secure environment at home to get online in partnership with community centers, and other critical neighborhood organizations to gain access to the Internet and critical skills training needed to participate in an increasingly digital world.