OAKLAND, Calif. – As part of its ongoing commitment to help connect lowincome students and families to the Internet so they can fully participate in educational opportunities and the digital economy, Comcast today announced plans to equip 20 Oakland community centers and parks and recreation facilities with free WiFi for the next three years.
As part of its Lift Zones initiative, the company will provide robust WiFi coverage in these safe spaces, to help ensure thousands of low-income students can remain online during the school year and continue to participate in distance learning. The announcement was made today during a special event with 2x Olympic Gold Medalist swimmer Simone Manuel, who spoke virtually with Oakland students about perseverance and the importance of following their dreams.
In addition to providing free WiFi at the various Lift Zone locations, Comcast contributed $100,000 to the City of Oakland Parks and Recreation Foundation and gave 1,000 students their own free laptop computer and free Internet at home for 12 months (to eligible families) through its Internet Essentials program.
Lift Zone sites complement Comcast's Internet Essentials program, which has helped connect more than eight million low-income people to the Internet at home. This includes more than one million residents across the state of California, which is the number one state in terms of overall participation in the Internet Essentials program.
Since the Internet Essentials program's launch in 2011, Comcast has donated tens of thousands of free laptops to students and families across the country, and invested $700 million in digital literacy, skills training and awareness programs that have reached 11 million people. Comcast recently announced that it was doubling the program's Internet download speed to 50 Mbps and increasing the upstream speed to 5 Mbps for all new and existing customers at no additional cost. The company continues to offer 60 days of free service to any new Internet Essentials customer who signs up before June 30, 2021.