Comcast today announced a new $300,000 investment to advance digital equity and economic opportunity in the greater Portland area. Furthering the company's deep and longstanding commitment to digital equity partnerships that support local communities in need, Comcast is donating $60,000 and launching its latest Lift Zone (providing free, high-speed Wi-Fi service) to Free Geeks new Center for Technology Education & Digital Equity and investing $240,000 in a digital navigation campaign. The combined investments will help increase access and internet adoption through resource awareness, digital skills programs, and device assistance.
"Free Geek is proud of our ongoing partnership with Comcast and collaborative effort to deliver technology education, digital navigation, internet access, and devices to communities in our region. We are excited to open The Center for Technology Education and Digital Equity in East Portland through the Comcast Lift Zone program, marking the first step towards our vision of advancing digital equity for those who need connectivity the most in our communities," said Juan M. Muro, Jr., Executive Director, Free Geek.
As the world becomes more digital, we must work harder than ever to help people get online and learn digital skills to make the most of the internet and all that it has to offer, said Broderick Johnson, EVP, Public Policy, and EVP, Digital Equity, Comcast Corporation. Were so appreciative of our commitment with Free Geek, an organization who changes lives here in Portland, who believe in our same mission of closing the digital divide.
Comcasts contributions are part of Project UP, a $1 billion commitment to help advance digital equity and build a future of Unlimited Possibilities. This investment in Free Greek and in digital navigation resources will help increase college and career readiness, especially among underserved youth; connect workers to opportunities; provide upskilling for adult learners and those already in the workforce; and close the skills particularly digital skills gap.
Comcast is proud to participate in the Federal Governments Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), which provides eligible families with a $30/month voucher ($75/month in Tribal areas) to pay for Internet service. When combined with Comcasts Internet Essentials or Internet Essentials+ service tiers, it makes home broadband effectively free.
Here's how the Comcast contributions will advance digital equity and support Multnomah County in 2023:
- Free Geek is receiving a $60,000 cash contribution and free Lift Zone Wi-Fi service from Comcast to help launch a new Center for Technology Education and Digital Equity which will serve as Free Geeks Digital Inclusion Hub. The center will provide digital skills education, one-on-one support, and digital navigation to help individuals and families most impacted by the digital divide. The center will also host community engagement events, provide office hours and study areas for participants, and host trainings for staff and volunteers whom Free Geek partners within the community.
- Digital Navigators investment of $240,000 to facilitate deeper partner engagement and community relationships to foster enrollment in the Federal Government's Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). A Portland-based street team will meet priority populations of eligible ACP customers where they are, in their own language, with a trusted voice. This grassroots support group will partner with local community-based organizations to plan and activate adoption campaigns, drive engagement among income-constrained communities, and support households in finding the right connection that best fits their needs and increase ACP sign-ups in local communities impacted by digital inequality.
Lift Zones are a part of Comcast's ongoing commitment to help connect students and families in need to the Internet so they can fully participate in educational opportunities and the digital economy. Since 2020, Comcast has collaborated with cities, community organizations, and local nonprofit partners to install Lift Zones with free Wi-Fi service in more than 20 community centers in Oregon.
Today's contribution builds upon Comcast's commitment to digital equity and programs designed to provide Oregon residents with internet access and skill-building services. Over the last three years, Comcast has provided $5.8 million in financial and in-kind charitable contributions to Oregon nonprofits aimed at:
- Making Internet Affordable to income-constrained households through a combination of our Internet Essentials service and the Federal Affordable Connectivity Program
- Increasing Awareness and facilitates Adoption through digital literacy classes from community partners and Digital Navigators
- Expanding Internet access by investing millions of dollars to bring our services to unserved areas and opening more than 100 Lift Zones in community centers in the Pacific Northwest
About Comcast Corporation
Comcast Corporation (Nasdaq: CMCSA) is a global media and technology company. From the connectivity and platforms we provide, to the content and experiences we create, our businesses reach hundreds of millions of customers, viewers, and guests worldwide. We deliver world-class broadband, wireless, and video through Xfinity, Comcast Business, and Sky; produce, distribute, and stream leading entertainment, sports, and news through brands including NBC, Telemundo, Universal, Peacock, and Sky; and bring incredible theme parks and attractions to life through Universal Destinations & Experiences.
View source version on newsdirect.com: https://newsdirect.com/news/comcast-and-free-geek-partner-to-open-new-center-for-technology-education-and-digital-equity-790470314
Disclaimer: The views, suggestions, and opinions expressed here are the sole responsibility of the experts. No The Daily News Journal journalist was involved in the writing and production of this article.