To help recognize National Veterans and Military Families Month, Comcast announced it would install free WiFi in up to 100 veteran-focused facilities as part of its expanding Lift Zones program. Lift Zones provide free WiFi access outside the home in neighborhood community centers. They complement Comcast’s Internet Essentials program, which provides low-cost broadband to eligible consumers, including veterans, inside the home. Both efforts are part of Project UP, Comcast’s comprehensive, ten year, $1 billion commitment to help build a future of unlimited possibilities.
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“Today’s announcement will provide even more Internet access for veterans and military families. Doing so will enable them to participate in workforce development programs, access their well-deserved healthcare benefits, and foster meaningful connections with friends, family, and their fellow veterans.”
Data around digital equity and veterans is clear. In 2020, the Department of Veterans Affairs experienced a 1000% increase in telehealth video appointments due to the pandemic, an example of the importance of the Internet for veterans to access benefits, education and career opportunities, and social connections. (Office of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs).
“The Internet is a fundamental tool to participate in today’s increasingly digital economy,” said Carol Eggert, Senior Vice President of Military and Veteran Affairs at Comcast NBCUniversal. “Today’s announcement will provide even more Internet access for veterans and military families. Doing so will enable them to participate in workforce development programs, access their well-deserved healthcare benefits, and foster meaningful connections with friends, family, and their fellow veterans.”
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Up to 100 Additional Lift Zones for Veterans:
Comcast has already installed nearly 25 Lift Zones inside veteran-serving organizations and it will continue over the next several months to work with members of the military community to identify additional locations. Examples of three organizations that will be installed with free WiFi include:
- Veterans Leadership Program, Pittsburgh, PA – From housing to career development to wellness and supportive services, VLP empowers veterans reach their fullest potential. VLP has made an impact on 6,500 veterans annually in 30 counties across Pennsylvania, New York, and Ohio.
- Do Good Multnomah, Portland, OR – DGM provides permanent, supportive housing and low-barrier emergency shelter to houseless veterans. They also provide one-on-one engagement and supportive services for veterans in need.
- Alpha Omega Veterans Services, Inc., Memphis, TN – AOVS helps military veterans reintegrate into society, often after achieving recovery and rehabilitation from debilitating mental and physical conditions.
“As we continue to navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic, having access to the Internet to take advantage of career development searches and support services has grown increasingly important for not only the veteran in need, but their families as well,” said Toshua Jarret, Chief Development Officer of Veterans Leadership Program. “We are proud to partner with Comcast through this Lift Zone to help provide the tools needed to help the veteran community succeed during this difficult time and beyond.”
“Especially in the era of COVID, having access to the Internet is crucial for receiving mental health and primary care, recovery support, and a variety of other services that help someone thrive in housing,” said Jess Gibly, Director of Permanent Supportive Housing for Do Good Multnomah. “These Lift Zones give our Veterans in Permanent Supportive Housing, many of whom cannot afford Internet themselves, the chance to get their wellness needs met and participate in online communities that have given people much needed support and connection during COVID.”
Project UP and Comcast’s $1 Billion Commitment to Advance Digital Equity:
For over a decade, 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 the company. 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 50 million 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.
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