Helping Whatcom County Connect to the Transformative Power of the Internet Both at Home and On-the-Go

Submitted by Comcast, written by Rodrigo Lopez

There is a significant challenge in Washington for
communities big and small. We call it the digital divide, and it exists in
Bellingham and Whatcom County. For over a decade, we’ve worked hard to address
this challenge and have connected nearly 4,000 households in Whatcom
County to high-speed Internet at home, many for the first time, through our Internet Essentials program. 

Internet Essentials addresses the barriers to
internet adoption through free digital literacy training resources, the option
to purchase a discounted computer, and low-cost, high-speed Internet for under
ten dollars a month, plus tax. Through this program, we’ve been able to connect
students, families, and communities needing affordable internet resources. But
more needs to be done.

Comcast plays a vital role in helping connect people
online, and that includes offering solutions both in and outside of the home.
Now, through our participation in the federal government’s Affordable
Connectivity Program (ACP), we have an unprecedented opportunity to help more
than 16,000 people in Whatcom County, including nearly 7,000 in Bellingham,
connect to the Internet both at home and on the go.

Nearly a half a million Washington residents may
benefit from access to the Internet through programs like ACP, which offer a
$30/month discount on Internet service ($75/month on Tribal lands). Any Xfinity
Internet or Internet Essentials customer who qualifies can use it to save money
on their Internet bill and take advantage of these offers.

Comcast has introduced two new ways for people to
connect through ACP, and the $30/month ACP benefit can be applied to any tier
of Xfinity Internet service. Eligible customers in Comcast’s service areas can
sign up for Internet
Essentials Plus, which includes 100 Mbps download speeds, a cable
modem/WiFi router device, and is free after the government’s ACP credit is
applied. Additionally, Xfinity Internet customers participating in ACP can add
mobile service through Xfinity
Mobile, which includes 5G and automatically connects to
millions of Xfinity WiFi hotspots across the country to reduce customers’
dependence on cellular and save money.

Signing up for ACP

New and existing Xfinity Internet or Internet
Essentials customers can visit www.xfinity.com/acp or call 844-389-4681 for more information to determine
eligibility and sign up. Customers can also call to speak to a dedicated ACP
Enrollment and Support Center from 8 AM to 12 AM daily, with multi-lingual
capabilities to assist anyone interested in the program.

Other Connectivity Options

We know that thousands of Washingtonians also depend
on community centers for access to the Internet, and our Lift Zone initiative
aims to address that need. Through our Lift Zone initiative, we have equipped 92 community centers with free internet
service throughout the state. Lift Zones provide thousands of Washington
residents with locations to access online education, healthcare, and employment
resources.

This year, some of our Lift Zones will also receive
a state-of-the-art technology makeover from Comcast, including new laptops and
technology that will help our community partners offer job skills training,
education, computer classes, internships, and more. Lift Zones in Washington
may be found at: https://www.internetessentials.com/learningSearchPage.

Connecting more people to the Internet and the
technology they need to participate and excel in an increasingly digital world
has been a core focus for Comcast. Looking toward the next ten years, Comcast
is building on that foundation and expanding its impact through Project UP, a
comprehensive initiative to advance digital equity and help build a future of
unlimited possibilities. 

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, advance economic mobility, and open doors for the next generation of
innovators, entrepreneurs, storytellers, and creators. For more information on
Project UP and the latest news on efforts to address digital inequities,
visit https://corporate.comcast.com/impact/project-up.

For more information about Internet Essentials and Comcast’s commitment to education and digital equity, please visit https://corporate.comcast.com/education. Families and households can apply for the program at www.internetessentials.com or by phone at 1-855-846-8376 for English or 1-855-765-6995 for Spanish.

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