Comcast Texas Commits More Than $1M to Shrink Local Digital Divide in 2023

Jo-Carolyn Goode | 4/13/2023, 5:25 p.m.
Any home without some sort of electronic device to connect with the internet or a way to access the internet …

Any home without some sort of electronic device to connect with the internet or a way to access the internet is a household that is at a serious economic, social, and mental disadvantage. Various studies have proven this. The internet opens an entirely new world that can connect people in surmountable ways. It can open worlds unseen by the human eye, broadening one’s mind and educational scope.

Numerous studies have shown that there are certain barriers to shrinking the digital divide. Barriers to closing the digital divide have been attributed to access, affordability, and adoption.

Access: Data collection from various entities shows that at least 28,2 American households lack any device to connect to the Internet. More shocking is how many individuals don’t even have access to public spaces with free Internet access.

Affordability: There is a cost to having the Internet at home. Families struggle with the basics of food, lights, and shelter. Adding something that some consider an educational necessity and others see as entertainment is not a priority.

Adoption: Various education levels and computer skillsets can act as hindrances to the adoption of working computer programs.

Comcast Texas understands how devastating the lack of a digital connection can be for families, especially those from black and brown communities. For years, Comcast Texas has poured funds into communities as a hand up to give them a better outlook on life. And now they are donating even more to help shrink the digital divide. Houston area’s largest internet service provider is committing more than $1 million to more than 60 local organizations and programs dedicated to helping people connect to the Internet, learn digital skills, and climb the economic ladder.

Comcast Texas has decided to tackle barriers by focusing on Connectivity & Adoption, Digital Skills in the Workforce, and Entrepreneurship.

Connectivity & Adoption: Connectivity programs equip individuals, families, and community partners with the right tools and resources to take advantage of the Internet. Adoption programs teach individuals the skills needed to increase their competency and confidence in technology in order to use it proficiently.

Digital Skills in the Workforce: Over 90% of jobs available today require digital skills, yet nearly one-third of US workers lack opportunities to build these skills. Digital skills programs teach individuals the tech skills needed to land a job and stay competitive in the changing marketplace.

Entrepreneurship: Entrepreneurship programs focus on helping people build digital skills to launch and grow their businesses.

"These investments are part of Comcast Texas’ ongoing commitment to provide people with the digital tools needed to succeed in this ever-connected world," said Ralph Martinez, Comcast Texas’ Regional Senior Vice President. "As we expand our next-generation network across southeast Texas, we’re here to be good neighbors. We’re here to support and uplift the communities we’re honored to do business in by teaming up with trusted partners to invest in programs that make a difference."

The funds are coming from Comcast’s Project UP, which is an initiative to connect people to the Internet with a $1 billion commitment and a goal to reach tens of millions of people. Selected organizations can start seeing the funds drop in May, with more coming throughout the year as this is a year-long investment. Additional support will be considered for local organizations that raise awareness about connectivity programs like Internet Essentials and the federal government’s Affordable Connectivity Program. Internet Essentials provides affordable home Internet for qualifying households ($9.95/mo for up to 50 Mbps, or $29.95/mo for up to 100 Mbps) - as well as low-cost computers, free WiFi hotspots, and free Internet training. The federal Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) provides qualified households with a credit of up to $30 per month towards internet and mobile services.

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