Pictured above: Independence Boys and Girls Club kids use a Comcast WiFi-enabled Lift Zone to get online and do their homework.
One critical lesson from the COVID-19 crisis is the importance of a reliable home Internet connection. With schools closed, and people working remote, the Internet became, and still is, the sole means for connecting. But not everyone has equal access to the Internet. This is a major challenge in cities across the Greater Kansas City Metro. At Comcast, we’re working hard to address it.
For a decade, Comcast has been connecting community members that qualify to affordable Internet through Internet Essentials. Since then, we’ve connected more than 10 million low-income Americans.
During the pandemic, Comcast launched two new programs to help: Lift Zones and Internet Essentials Partnership Program.
Lift Zones provide free WiFi access in community centers where students and adults can get online. Lift Zones are designed to help those students who, for a variety of reasons, are unable to participate in distance learning at home. There are currently two active Lift Zones in the Greater Kansas City Area—both located at the Independence Boys & Girls Clubs.
“I would like to express my gratitude to the team at Comcast,” remarked Dr. Dred Scott, President & CEO of the Boys & Girls Club of Kansas City. “Adding the Lift Zones to the Independence and Olathe Clubs to help our students access the Internet is huge. During the pandemic many of our youth were forced to learn from home without having the technology, hardware and infrastructure to support that learning. I want to thank each and every member of the Comcast team that made the Lift Zone initiatives possible within our Clubs. It means so much because of the connection they have with the club.”
Also, during the pandemic Comcast introduced its Internet Essentials Partnership Program, designed to help accelerate Internet adoption. The program provides the opportunity for school districts and other organizations to fund and quickly connect large numbers of students and families to broadband access at home.
For Fort Osage resident Libet Ojeda, Internet Essentials meant educational stability for her children, continuing school online throughout 2020 and 2021, and additional language support for their Spanish-speaking family.
“When the pandemic hit, I was fearful of what virtual support my family would have,” stated Libet Ojeda,” We were thrilled that Internet Essentials gave us the option for uninterrupted support that was affordable. I cannot say enough about the importance the IE program has been for our family to have the stability to keep learning on the internet. My daughter suffers from dyslexia and the audio books she’s able to use on her tablet have made a big difference in her progress.”
As we celebrate ten years of connecting folks in our community to Internet, we also continue to barriers to digital equity in Kansas City Metro, including Fort Osage, Olathe, Blue Springs and Independence. To learn more visit https://www.internetessentials.com/.