Comcast today announced it equipped six community centers in Chester County with WiFi-connected “Lift Zones” as part of its ongoing commitment to help students and adults get online, participate in distance learning or remote work, do homework, or look for and apply for jobs. Working with local centers, Comcast is providing a robust WiFi solution to help thousands of patrons get online at the following locations:
- Garage Youth Community Center – Union and Rosehill locations
- Oscar Lasko YMCA & Childcare
- The Parkesburg Point
- Charles A. Melton Arts & Education Center
- Thorndale United Methodist Church
In 2020, the Oscar Lasko YMCA & Childcare served nearly 1,000 members and more than 200 children in their summer camp, childcare and before and after school care programs. According to Bridgette Barbera-Byrne, director of branch operations, “At the YMCA, we believe that everyone, regardless of age, income or background should have the opportunity to learn, grow and thrive. We are thankful to Comcast for providing a Lift Zone at our YMCA. This was especially critical during a year where safe and reliable access to the Internet was critical for the success of students engaged in virtual instruction.”
“When schools pivoted to virtual and hybrid schooling, many of the more than 320 students The Garage was serving accessed their education at our community Learning Pods. The Lift Zones we launched at our Kennett Square and West Grove locations provided our students with access to online classes, while in a safe, chaperoned and accessible environment,” said Kristin Proto, executive director of The Garage Community & Youth Center. “The volume of students and bandwidth requirements for this could not have been achieved at our centers without help from Comcast’s Lift Zones. We are truly grateful for their partnership during the unique and unexpected challenges we had to navigate in 2020 and 2021!”
“The pandemic put many low-income families at risk of being left behind, and we’re proud to work with community partners to support them with Internet adoption and digital equity programs like this one,” said Dennis Mathew, Senior Vice President of Comcast’s Freedom Region. “We hope these Lift Zones help Chester County families stay connected to vital resources.”
Comcast has announced a $1 billion commitment, part of Project Up, to reach 50 million people with the tools, resources and skills needed to succeed in a digital world. After achieving its March 2020 goal to install WiFi access inside 1,000+ community centers nationwide for students and adults by the end of 2021, the company will now install 250 more Lift Zones before the end of 2022.
Lift Zones complement Comcast’s Internet Essentials program, which has helped connect a cumulative total of 10 million low-income people to the Internet at home since 2011, including more than 14,000 in Chester County. Working with its network of nonprofit partners, Comcast is providing free WiFi hotspot connectivity in community centers with access to hundreds of hours of digital skills content to help families and site coordinators navigate online learning. Comcast has already launched more than 125 Lift Zones across New Jersey and Greater Philadelphia.
There has never been more support available to get low-income Americans, in urban and rural communities alike, connected to broadband. Between Lift Zones, Internet Essentials and the federal government’s assistance in the form of the Affordable Connectivity Program, which provides a $30/month subsidy for Internet service, and the Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF) which supports connectivity for schools and libraries, powerful tools are available to help finally close the digital divide.