With Thanksgiving and the giving season just around the corner, it's all the more fitting to spotlight the cable industry's year-round efforts to invest in its communities and to achieve digital equity across America.
To focus on Comcast, yesterday NCTA spotlighted the cable provider's recent digital equity initiative in the Boston area. This $500,0000 investment is just one of many across the United States that exemplify the deep commitment the industry shares toward closing the digital divide, and is part of Comcast's larger commitment to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts through Project UP—the company's comprehensive, $1 billion commitment to advance digital equity and help build a future of unlimited possibilities. This month, Comcast also awarded a $100,000 grant to the Western Massachusetts Alliance for Digital Equity—a regional coalition that aims to ensure digital equity for all residents of the Pioneer Valley.
The grant will actively help five organizations launch the Affordable Connectivity Program Assistance Initiative, which will focus on enrolling people in the federal government's Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). ACP gives eligible low-income households a credit up to $30 per month toward their internet and/or mobile service.
The five organizations participating in the Affordable Connectivity Program Assistance Initiative are: the Center for New Americans in Northampton; Community Action of Pioneer Valley in Franklin, Hampshire & Hampden counties; New North Citizens' Council in Springfield; Springfield Partners for Community Action; and Viability in Springfield.
What It Will Do for Western Massachusetts
Comcast's contribution will assist in launching formal ACP enrollment trainings to better inform and educate community members about the ACP benefits available to them. Comcast also donated laptops to Springfield Partners for Community Action and the Community Action of Pioneer Valley to assist in digital literacy training and ACP adoption.
"The Alliance was founded on the principle that the internet should be accessible to all residents of western Massachusetts," said Dr. Frank Robinson, Vice President of Public Health for Baystate Health. "Thanks to the generous support of Comcast, the Alliance can empower several nonprofits in the area to help close the digital divide by promoting awareness of and enrollment in the federal government's Affordable Connectivity Program, which enables more individuals and households to adopt and maintain high-speed connectivity at home."
Why ACP Matters
ACP is another avenue through which low-income households can gain access to internet service by taking away the cost barrier. Eligible Comcast customers can get home internet through Comcast's Internet Essentials or Internet Essentials Plus at no cost once the federal credit is applied.
"With this grant announcement, Comcast is thrilled to strengthen our partnership with Western Massachusetts Alliance for Digital Equity and connect more residents to free and affordable broadband service," said Dalila Wilson-Scott, Executive Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer, Comcast Corporation and President, Comcast NBCUniversal Foundation.
"Comcast knows that access to the internet is vital and is committed to ensuring that more residents have the connectivity they need to succeed," said Carolyne Hannan, Senior Vice President of Comcast's Western New England Region. "By supporting the Western Massachusetts Alliance for Digital Equity in its mission to raise awareness for programs such as ACP, we are one step closer to helping bridge the digital divide across the Pioneer Valley."
Who Will Benefit
As State Representative Carlos Gonzalez (D-Springfield) remarked, "The pandemic has shown us that the internet is not simply a convenience, but rather a necessary tool of the modern economy." He continued, "Expanding internet access to all members of our community is a matter of economic and racial justice that provides equal opportunity to succeed for those who do not currently have it. I applaud this initiative and all the partner organizations that will be serving the citizens of Springfield and the surrounding area through it."