For over a decade, Comcast has made it a top priority to create a world of digital equity within the communities it serves for the next generation of innovators, entrepreneurs, storytellers, and creators.
“As a media and technology company, we’re uniquely positioned to use our resources and business expertise to help ensure that everyone has the connectivity, digital skills, and opportunities they need to participate and succeed in today’s increasingly digital world,” said Comcast Regional Senior Director of External Affairs Joe Higgins.
Part of this initiative includes Project UP, a program the technological empire established back in 2021.
“Project UP is our comprehensive initiative to advance digital equity and help build a future of unlimited possibilities,” Higgins said. “Backed by a $1 billion commitment to reach tens of millions of people, Project UP encompasses the programs and community partnerships across Comcast, NBCUniversal, and Sky that connect people to the internet and advance economic mobility.”
Through Project UP, Comcast is aiming to focus on the three core areas of connectivity, skills and creativity, and entrepreneurialism to help create new opportunities and pathways for digital voices across the nation.
“We imagine a world where everyone has what they need to shape the future,” Higgins said. “Digital equity is and will continue to be critical, which is why we remain steadfast in our commitment to ensuring digital access, resources, and support for all.”
Comcast’s Internet Essentials, a key component of Project UP, has been a major step in creating that inclusion for everyone across the board. Internet Essentials allows eligible low-income households to have access to low-cost Internet service, digital skills training, and subsidized computers. Internet Essentials and Internet Essentials Plus are available to students of all ages, including elementary, college, seniors, veterans, and people with disabilities and public housing residents enrolled in public assistance programs, ranging from Medicaid to SSI to SNAP. The program has helped 560,000 Indiana residents connect to the Internet at home since it launched in 2011.
Northwest Indiana specifically has also seen the benefits of Project UP. Comcast has always been proud to form numerous partnerships with local nonprofits, schools, and government officials to spread the word about Internet Essentials and help build digital skills for everyone to benefit from the opportunities that come from being online.
“We know that having access to the Internet along with the tools and information necessary to participate in today’s digital world are crucial to closing the digital divide. Working together, we can reach more people and empower them with the tools to build better futures,” Higgins said. “We’ve also supported small business owners in Northwest Indiana and across the country through our Comcast RISE program, which provided businesses with digital tools and resources needed to thrive.”
Comcast additionally established “Lift Zones” at nine Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Northwest Indiana locations in 2021.
“Lift Zones are safe spaces where children can get online to do schoolwork and adults can get online to learn new digital skills, search for employment, and access an array of services. Last summer, we awarded a $10,000 grant to the organization’s Lake Station Club to support digital skills training and new computers and other technology,” Higgins said.
With the help of assets like Internet Essentials and Project Up, Higgins is proud to work toward establishing a community to help everyone succeed in today’s digital world.
“Through Internet Essentials, Comcast has helped hundreds of thousands of Indiana families cross the digital divide,” he said. “Access to the Internet and digital skills are crucial to our daily lives and to succeed in today’s digital world. I’m proud that Comcast recognized the impact of the digital divide early on and continues to make digital equity a top priority by offering resources and solutions that further our commitment to the communities we serve.”
Comcast looks to expand Project UP in years ahead as it continues to focus on broadband connectivity and adoption, digital skills, and entrepreneurship by making investments in the local communities that it serves. Higgins credits the Comcast crew for making this possible to help build up the Project Up initiative.
“Our employees are among the most powerful allies in our work to build stronger communities,” he said. “They dedicate their time and offer their voice and expertise to advance equity in the communities where they live and work through Team UP, our national employee volunteer program. Team UP aligns with Project UP’s initiative to build a future of unlimited possibilities.”For more information on Comcast and Project UP, visit the website here.