Comcast Launches Live American Sign Language Interpreting Services at Six Greater Philly Xfinity Store Locations

American Sign Language in Xfinity Stores demonstration

As part of its ongoing commitment to digital inclusion and accessibility, Comcast today announced the availability of live American Sign Language (ASL) interpreting services at six Xfinity Store locations in Greater Philadelphia. Customers who need ASL support can stop into any Philadelphia Xfinity Store, where representatives will utilize ASL Video Remote Interpreting (VRI) to access a live interpreter provided by partner, Communication Service for the Deaf (CSD). Comcast is the first telecommunications retailer in the country to offer live, on-demand, remote ASL interpreting services in stores to better serve customers.

Offering ASL live interpreting services in stores is part of Comcast’s ongoing commitment towards closing the digital divide and making its products and services accessible to everyone. Stores in Philadelphia, alongside those in St. Augustine, FL, San Jose, CA, and Frederick, MD, are training sales associates to participate in the ASL pilot. The company aims to make the service available at retail locations nationwide in the coming months.

The participating Greater Philadelphia area stores are:

  • Center City: 1429 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 19102
  • City Ave: 4504B City Ave. Philadelphia, PA 19131-1509
  • Havertown: 116 W Township Line Road, Unit 500, Havertown, PA 19083-5235
  • King of Prussia: 130 Town Square Place, King of Prussia, PA 19406-1500
  • Northeast Shopping Center: 9173 Roosevelt Blvd., Philadelphia, PA 19114
  • Northeast Tower: 4640 Roosevelt Blvd., Philadelphia, PA19124-2300

The American Community Survey (ACS) estimates that 3.6% of the U.S. population is “deaf or have serious difficulty hearing.” Additionally, according to Pew Research Center, 23% of people with disabilities say they never go online with 57% saying they do not have a home broadband connection. That’s why, through Comcast’s Project UP initiative, the company is working to address and break down the unique barriers to connectivity through a series of efforts, including Internet Essentials, Lift Zones, and skill development and training.

“At Comcast, providing a world class customer experience is our top priority,” said Thomas Wlodkowski, Comcast Vice President for Accessibility. “We believe that this ASL video remote interpreting service will make the in-store experience more welcoming and efficient for our Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing customers and retail associates.”

“Comcast continues to show their commitment to providing accessible customer experiences for Deaf communities,” said Christopher Soukup, Chief Executive Officer of Communication Service for the Deaf. “By expanding their offerings from online support in American Sign Language to in-store services, they are setting a clear model for all organizations on what it means to provide equitable and inclusive experiences for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing individuals.”

Additionally, Comcast announced a $25,000 digital equity grant for community partner, Pennsylvania School for the Deaf. The grant builds upon previous collaborations to broaden the scope of digital inclusion for the city’s Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing community, including a program for deaf and hard of hearing young adults interested in pursuing careers in the technology field. 

“PSD is thrilled to continue its partnership with Comcast to ensure Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing children have access to all forms of technology, and that the Deaf community is welcomed and valued as Xfinity customers,” said Melissa Draganac-Hawk, Head of School for Pennsylvania School for the Deaf. “We are extremely grateful to Comcast for this significant investment in our students, especially those who wish to explore careers in technology. We look forward to building this partnership, and to expanding digital inclusion to include new opportunities for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing students.”

Group photo from ASL in Xfinity Stores launch event
(L-R): Celebrating the launch of live ASL interpreting services at six Greater Philly Xfinity Stores with Xfinity Customer Alycia Brown, Special Education Teacher, Pennsylvania School for the Deaf; Melissa Draganac-Hawk, Head of School, Pennsylvania School for the Deaf; Amy Nieves, Executive Director, Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities and Mayor’s Commission on People with Disabilities; Tom Wlodkowski, Vice President of Accessibility, Comcast; Heather Whalen, Vice President of Retail Sales & Service Operations, Comcast; Shaun Wilson, Xfinity Retail Store Manager; Stephanie L. Kosta, Vice President of Government & Regulatory Affairs & Community Investment, Comcast Freedom Region; Dan Bonelli, Regional Senior Vice President, Comcast Freedom Region; and Rosa Lee Timm, President, Social Venture Fund, Communication Service for the Deaf.

We think you may also like…