PHILADELPHIA–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Comcast announced today that it has installed free WiFi in its 1,000th Lift Zone in St. Paul, Minnesota at The Sanneh Foundation’s Seton Center. The company plans to mark the occasion with a $50,000 grant to help support the organization as it rebuilds after being set back by an arsonist. The company also set a new goal to install 250 additional Lift Zones before the end of 2022. Lift Zones are part of Project UP, Comcast’s comprehensive, ten year, $1 billion commitment to help build a future of unlimited possibilities.
Originally intended as a multi-year effort, earlier this year the company accelerated its roll-out plans in response to overwhelming public support. Lift Zones came along at a critical time, providing free WiFi access within select recreation, community, and senior centers, as well as public housing computer labs. Students used them for remote learning, even when schools were closed. Adults, too, benefitted because Lift Zones also offer access to hundreds of hours of free digital skills training to help people learn how to get online for remote working, job hunting, and finding telehealth services.
As announced December 6th, Comcast also plans to provide free WiFi at up to 100 veteran-serving locations nationwide. The Lift Zones effort complements Comcast’s Internet Essentials program, which, since 2011, has connected a cumulative total of more than 10 million low-income people to the Internet at home.
“Whether at home or in a neighborhood community center like the Sanneh Foundation, Comcast is committed to helping connect the unconnected,” said Broderick Johnson, executive vice president, public policy and executive vice president, digital equity, at Comcast Corporation. “Lift Zones, where we provide free WiFi access to neighborhoods in need, are an extension of our efforts to address digital equity for everyone who needs the Internet for homework, for jobs, or learning digital skills.”
“I commend Comcast for the positive impact they’ve made in the Twin Cities community with Lift Zones and Internet Essentials,” said Tony Sanneh, founder and CEO, The Sanneh Foundation. “The need for connectivity has never been greater and both programs have been extremely beneficial to our families through our partnership with Comcast.”
The Sanneh Foundation’s mission is to empower youth by supporting and promoting educational attainment and providing programs that strengthen physical health and social and emotional development. The organization draws hundreds of students to after-school and summer programming at its two facilities in St. Paul, the Conway Center and the Seton Center. In addition to sports and enrichment programs, each year The Sanneh Foundation serves 330,000 warm and healthy meals to youth and their families. Warm dinner is available 7-days a week, and lunches are available during out-of-school days and weekends.
The Conway Center was the very first Lift Zone Comcast installed. It opened in the Twin Cities in September 2020 and was being used by up to 150 students per day with supervised, online schooling and learning support. During the pandemic, Comcast also brought WiFi to the center’s outdoor athletic dome so it could be used for an online learning facility as well.
In early 2021, the Conway Center was damaged by arson, causing the center to close for four weeks. The Sanneh Foundation had to quickly shift operations to their newest location at Seton Center to host scheduled free youth sports camps and food distribution for those in need. Comcast swiftly moved in to bring service to the organization’s new location, making it fully operational. A Lift Zone was recently established at Seton Center for older youth focused on career readiness and workforce development, making it Comcast’s 1,000th in the nation.
“So much of life and work happens online,” said Kalyn Hove, Regional Senior Vice President, Comcast Twin Cities Region. “Together with our nonprofit partners, like The Sanneh Foundation, we have built safe spaces for students and families to connect to the Internet.”
Project UP and Comcast’s $1 Billion Commitment to Advance Digital Equity:
For over a decade, connecting more people to the Internet and the technology they need to participate and excel in an increasingly digital world has been a core focus for the company. Looking toward the next ten years, Comcast is building on that foundation and expanding its impact through Project UP, a comprehensive initiative to advance digital equity and help build a future of unlimited possibilities. Backed by a $1 billion commitment to reach 50 million people, Project UP encompasses the programs and community partnerships across Comcast, NBCUniversal, and Sky that connect people to the Internet, advance economic mobility and open doors for the next generation of innovators, entrepreneurs, storytellers, and creators. For more information on Project UP and the latest news on efforts to address digital inequities visit https://corporate.comcast.com/impact/project-up.
About Internet Essentials
Internet Essentials is Comcast’s signature digital equity initiative and the nation’s largest and most comprehensive broadband adoption program. In 10 years, it has helped connect 10 million low-income Americans to broadband Internet at home, most for the very first time. Internet Essentials has a comprehensive design that addresses each of the three major barriers to broadband adoption. This includes: multiple options to access free digital literacy training in print, online, and in person; the option to purchase a heavily subsidized, low-cost Internet-ready computer; and low-cost, high-speed Internet service for $9.95 a month, plus tax. The program is structured as a partnership between Comcast and tens of thousands of school districts, libraries, elected officials, and nonprofit community partners. Comcast has never raised the price of the program. For more information about Internet Essentials and Comcast’s commitment to education and digital equity, please visit https://corporate.comcast.com/education. To apply, visit www.internetessentials.com or call 1-855-846-8376 for English or 1-855-765-6995 for Spanish.
About Comcast Corporation
Comcast Corporation (Nasdaq: CMCSA) is a global media and technology company that connects people to moments that matter. We are principally focused on broadband, aggregation, and streaming with over 57 million customer relationships across the United States and Europe. We deliver broadband, wireless, and video through our Xfinity, Comcast Business, and Sky brands; create, distribute, and stream leading entertainment, sports, and news through Universal Filmed Entertainment Group, Universal Studio Group, Sky Studios, the NBC and Telemundo broadcast networks, Peacock, NBC News, NBC Sports, Sky News, and Sky Sports; and provide memorable experiences at Universal Parks and Resorts in the United States and Asia. Visit www.comcastcorporation.com for more information.