Comcast has announced a $25,000 grant to support CodeVA and its free computer science programs for city students and teachers, along with a donation of 500 free laptops, which will be distributed to Richmond Public Schools students and resident seniors across the city. The grant and donation are part of marking the company’s 10th anniversary of its Internet Essentials program, which is the nation’s largest and most comprehensive broadband adoption effort for low-income households. Since 2011, it has connected a cumulative total of 360,000 individuals in Virginia.
“This is an incredible day for the City of Richmond, and I want to thank Comcast for its long-standing commitment to digital equity,” said Cynthia Newbille, President of the Richmond City Council. “This grant will help us connect even more residents to the internet so they’re able to obtain the digital skills that are critical to succeed in today’s digital world.”
Beyond the financial grant and laptop donation, Comcast is focused on increasing broadband adoption in Richmond through Lift Zones, which provide free WiFi access within select recreation centers, community centers, senior centers, and public housing computer labs. In addition, the company offers hundreds of hours of free digital skills training to residents – allowing more students, seniors, veterans, and others to learn how to get online for distance learning, job hunting, telehealth services, and more.
“This generous laptop donation from Comcast will be a real difference maker in the lives of many of our students and their families,” said Cheryl Burke, Chairwoman of Richmond Public Schools Board of Education. “Internet connectivity, devices and digital literacy are must-haves to remain competitive in today’s world, and we’re looking forward to our continued partnership with Comcast.”
Comcast 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. For Comcast Internet Essentials customers, household participation in the EBB would eliminate any costs for the Internet Essentials service.
“Our goal is to get every resident of Richmond connected to the Internet,” said Antoine Banks, Director of Government Affairs for Comcast’s Beltway Region. “There is no quick fix to closing the digital divide, but we have been at this for 10 years with Internet Essentials and will continue to work with the City of Richmond, Richmond Public Schools and our local non-profit partners to drive internet adoption, improve digital literacy and ultimately create a connected city.”