Comcast Partners with Olympian Simone Manuel to Announce Free WiFi for Students and Their Families at 20 Oakland Community Centers
As part of its ongoing commitment to help connect low-income students and families to the Internet so they can fully participate in educational opportunities and the digital economy, Comcast today announced plans to equip 20 Oakland community centers and parks and recreation facilities with free WiFi for the next three years. As part of its Lift Zones initiative, the company will provide robust WiFi coverage in these safe spaces, to help ensure thousands of low-income students can remain online during the school year and continue to participate in distance learning.
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Simone Manuel reacts to winning a Gold medal at the Olympic Games Rio 2016. (Photo: Getty Images)
The announcement was made today during a special event with 2x Olympic Gold Medalist swimmer Simone Manuel, who spoke virtually with Oakland students about perseverance and the importance of following their dreams.
“The current health crisis has had a disproportionate effect on many students from communities of color, and I want these kids to know that there are people rooting for them,” said Simone Manuel, the first African American female swimmer to win gold in an individual swimming event at the 2016 Rio Games. “The lack of Internet access in low-income homes adds unique challenges to families that are trying to manage distance learning. I’m pleased to partner with Comcast to bring awareness to this important issue and help close the digital divide.”
In addition to providing free WiFi at the various Lift Zone locations, Comcast contributed $100,000 to the City of Oakland Parks and Recreation Foundation and gave 1,000 students their own free laptop computer and free Internet at home for 12 months (to eligible families) through its Internet Essentials program.
“We’re thrilled to partner with the City of Oakland Parks and Recreation Foundation to install free WiFi and provide digital skills training to ensure students can stay connected with their schools during this challenging time,” said John Gauder, regional senior vice president, Comcast California. “The COVID-19 crisis continues to put many low-income students at risk of being left behind, accelerating the need for comprehensive digital equity and Internet adoption programs to support them. Whether connecting to the Internet at home with our Internet Essentials program, or providing free WiFi at community centers, we’re helping to ensure students have multiple options to get online.”