Lift Zones Will Provide Safe Spaces with Free Internet to Help Hundreds of Low-Income Students Participate in Distance Learning
WHEELING, WV – May 24, 2021 – 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 today announced plans to equip the North Wheeling Community Center and the Salvation Army in Bellaire, Ohio with WiFi-connected “Lift Zones” this month. The robust WiFi coverage Comcast will provide at these centers is expected to help hundreds of low-income students get online, participate in distance learning and do their homework.
Lift Zone sites complement Comcast’s Internet Essentials program, which, since 2011, has now connected a cumulative total of more than 10 million people in America to broadband Internet at home, including approximately 4,800 people in Ohio County, West Virginia and 5,200 in Belmont County, Ohio.
Today’s announcement also comes on the heels of Comcast’s recent $1 billion commitment over the next 10 years to help further close the digital divide and give even more low-income students and families the tools and resources they need to succeed in a digital world.
“We’re grateful to Comcast for these Lift Zone sites and the Internet Essentials Program, which will provide internet at several of our community centers, where this service is so desperately needed,” said West Virginia Delegate Erikka Storch, R-Ohio. “Comcast’s generous financial commitment will help us build a better community, providing families and students one of the tools needed to achieve success.”
“The Salvation Army of Belmont County is excited to partner with Comcast as they provide our shelter with better WIFI for our residents, said the Salvation Army’s Major Louis A. Patrick. “We encourage every resident to use our WiFi to seek out jobs, housing and school opportunities. This partnership will open more avenues for our homeless to move out of their present circumstances and integrate in their new communities.”
There are three Lift Zones already operational in West Virginia, with others currently under consideration. These Lift Zones will feature free WiFi provided by Comcast, which will enable students to successfully participate in distance learning. The initiative will provide free connectivity for the community centers for the next three years.
“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,” said Lisa Birmingham, Vice President of External and Government Affairs for Comcast’s Keystone Region. “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.”