Comcast has announced the donation of 3,000 new laptops and free Internet service from its Internet Essentials program across Baltimore City to be distributed among several organizations focused on education, digital equity, and workforce development. The announcement was made from M&T Bank Stadium following a TODAY Show segment featuring principal Taiisha Swinton-Buck, whose Digital Harbor High School students will receive 1,500 laptops plus 12 months of free Internet service from Comcast’s Internet Essentials, the nation’s largest and most successful low-income Internet adoption program.
This is an incredible moment for Baltimore,” said Baltimore City Mayor Brandon Scott. “As my administration works to close the digital divide, it helps to have committed partners like Comcast. Thanks to their donation, Baltimore students will be able to learn remotely with reliable, high-speed Internet access.”
Over the past 10 years, Internet Essentials has connected a cumulative total of 192,000 Baltimoreans. And as of September 21, we have announced new steps to help advance digital equity for even more students and families by expanding eligibility for the Internet Essentials program to Federal Pell Grant recipients.
We’re thrilled to see principal Swinton-Buck recognized today for her incredible accomplishments as an educator and a leader,” added Sonja Brookins Santelises, CEO of Baltimore City Public Schools. “We are also grateful for this wonderful donation from Comcast to our students.”
In addition to Digital Harbor High School, other organizations that will receive the free laptops and up to 12 months of free Internet service include the Mayor’s Office of Employment Development, Baltimore’s Promise, Catholic Charities of Baltimore, and the Community College of Baltimore County. Even more organizations will be announced at a later date.
Today’s laptop donation gets to the heart of our focus in Baltimore City and around the country,” said Michael Parker, Senior Vice President for Comcast’s Beltway Region. “From youth to adults to seniors, we’re focused on ensuring every individual regardless of age and socioeconomic status has the devices and digital skills – and most importantly, the same opportunity – to succeed in today’s increasingly digital world.”
Comcast’s Ongoing Commitment to Advancing Digital Equity
Research shows that low-income students and their families face numerous broadband adoption challenges, including housing insecurity, literacy challenges, language barriers, and lack of digital skills training. As a result, Comcast’s digital equity efforts have been designed to address as many of these challenges as possible, including offering low-cost broadband Internet at home; the option to purchase a heavily subsidized, affordable computer; access to free WiFi in community centers nationwide; and numerous options to acquire the digital skills necessary to navigate distance learning and use the Internet.
Over the next 10 years, Comcast has committed $1 billion to programs and partnerships that will reach an estimated 50 million people with the skills, opportunities, and resources they need to succeed in an increasingly digital world. This includes programs such as Comcast RISE, which provides underrepresented small business owners with access to the digital tools and funding they need to thrive, and Lift Zones, community centers that provide free, high-speed WiFi and hundreds of hours of digital skills training – 21 of which are located in Baltimore City. Internet Essentials, Comcast RISE and Lift Zones are part of Comcast’s ongoing efforts to advance digital equity. The Company is also supporting the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB), a temporary benefit program from the federal government designed to help qualified low-income households with a credit of up to $50 per month toward their Internet service until the program’s funding runs out.