Comcast Utah is proud to announce our plans to equip more than 35 different Utah locations with WiFi-connected “Lift Zones” over the next few months. This initiative is part of our ongoing commitment to help connect low-income families to the Internet so they can fully participate in educational opportunities and the digital economy.
We’re bringing robust WiFi coverage to safe spaces – in partnership with non-profit and community partners – that will help thousands of low-income students get online, participate in distance learning and do their homework.
According to the latest data from the United States Census Bureau, only 26.3% of Utah’s population has access to a standalone [in-home] broadband internet plan under $60 per month To this day, 108,000 Utahns still don’t have access to an in-home connection capable of a 25Mbps speed. Additionally, 45,000 people in Utah don’t have access to any wired internet providers at all.
We expect to help tens of thousands of low-income students get online, participate in distance learning and do their homework when sites reopen and it’s safe to gather in a socially distanced manner,” said Nelson Duckett, Comcast Vice President of Operations.
Additional Lift Zones sites are currently under consideration for our entire service area in Utah, intending to have all locations installed by the end of 2021.
These Lift Zones will feature free WiFi provided by Comcast, allowing students to work on laptops simultaneously to participate in distance learning successfully. This initiative provides free connectivity inside partner community centers for the next three years.
The urgency of this service has never been greater,” said Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall. “Kids can now have dependable Internet resources in a good learning environment. That reliable internet is a key component of our YouthCity programming service; the Comcast partnership will help keep our students connected.”
Ogden City Mayor Mike Caldwell echoes the same enthusiasm.
This is a big deal for us, and we’re really excited about it,” said Mayor Caldwell. “We want to celebrate Comcast for putting this together. That’s what a community partnership is––it’s coming together to solve problems and find ways that we can use each other’s tools to better support each other.”
The need for a stronger Internet connection hit home for Mayor Caldwell.
With the pandemic, my wife has been working from home; our daughter came back from college and was on Zoom meetings all day,” he said. “Our youngest daughter’s a senior in high school, and we just got overwhelmed. And that’s in our house, and we have fairly decent Internet. We have huge areas in our community that don’t have access to good internet. And when everything went on Zoom and went to online learning, it was impossible for some kids to log in and have access to that.”
Lift Zone sites complement Comcast’s Internet Essentials program, which has helped connect more than 8 million low-income people to the Internet at home, including more than 218,000 Utahns.
Tech and innovation have always been critical and foundational parts of my vision for our capital city,” said Mayor Mendenhall. “There’s an incredible value in these public-private partnerships that we can’t afford to bring the level and the quality of internet that our residents need and deserve. Through these public-private partnerships, we can leverage these foundational needs so much further. We’re grateful, and we’re thrilled.”