As part of its ongoing commitment to help connect low-income families to the internet so they can fully participate in educational opportunities and the digital economy, Comcast announced plans to equip nine City of Houston Community Centers with WiFi-connected “Lift Zones” before the end of 2020.
In partnership with the City of Houston, Comcast is providing robust WiFi hotspots in safe spaces designed to help students get online, participate in distance learning and do their homework. This initiative provides free connectivity inside partner community centers for the next three years.
The City of Houston Community Centers will be the first of many Lift Zone installations in the Houston Region. The Lift Zone’s feature free WiFi provided by Comcast, which allows students to work on laptops simultaneously so they can successfully participate in distance learning. Every facility is run by a nonprofit, city or business and will follow state and local rules with respect to indoor gatherings and safety protocols around COVID-19.
“The pandemic has underscored the need for students to have internet access to support their education and not fall behind in the classroom. Parents must also have options that work for them,” said City of Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner. “We are grateful to have Comcast step up and partner with the City of Houston, providing families with crucial resources like WiFi Lift Zones, and giving needed support when at-home connectivity is not available
“We are proud to partner with community organizations across the Houston Region and equip them with free internet service and the digital training skills that will provide kids with safe, fast and reliable connectivity to keep up with school and prepare for a brighter future,” said Ralph Martinez, regional senior vice president, Comcast Houston. “The COVID-19 crisis continues to put many low-income students at risk of being left behind, accelerating the need for comprehensive digital equity and Internet adoption programs to support them. We hope these Lift Zones will help those students who, for a variety of reasons, are unable to connect to effective distance learning at home.”
Participating City of Houston Lift Zone sites include:
- Acres Homes Multi-Service Center
- DeZavala Community Center
- Emancipation Community Center
- Hartman Community Center
- Kashmere Multi-Service Center
- Magnolia Multi-Service Center
- Melrose Community Center
- Southwest Multi-Service Center
- Third Ward Multi-Service Center
Several more Houston Lift Zone locations are currently under consideration, with the goal to have all locations installed by early 2021.
In addition to the WiFi Lift Zones, the City of Houston and Comcast have partnered to provide internet access to approximately 5,000 Houstonians in need including seniors and families with children who have not started school. This Internet Essentials Partnership Agreement will ensure low-income seniors can stay safe and connected for education, work and personal health reasons.
Earlier this year, Comcast announced a multiyear program to launch more than 1,000 WiFi-connected Lift Zones in community centers nationwide. This effort complements Comcast’s Internet Essentials program, which has helped connect more than 8 million low-income people to the internet at home, including more than 600,000 Houstonians.