Comcast has announced expanded efforts to close the digital divide in Richmond by partnering with The Purple Zone – a local non-profit dedicated to connecting residents with resources – to launch a Digital Navigator program. The program will train individuals affiliated with trusted community organizations in six historically under-resourced Richmond communities to help people access the Internet, use devices and acquire digital skills. These areas include Creighton Court, Hillside Court, Fairfield Court, Gilpin Court, Mosby Court and Whitcomb Court.
The Digital Navigators will also help drive awareness and adoption of the federal government’s Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), which provides eligible low-income households with a credit of up to $30 per month ($75 per month on Tribal lands) toward their Internet and/or mobile service. Thanks to ACP, eligible Comcast customers can get home Internet through Comcast’s Internet Essentials or Internet Essentials Plus at no cost once the federal credit is applied. Internet Essentials customers can also add a line of unlimited 5G cellular data ($45) through Xfinity Mobile for as little as $24.95/month after the ACP benefit is applied.
“We have a shared mission with Comcast to connect community members in need with programs that can advance economic opportunity and close the digital divide,” said James Davis, Founder of The Purple Zone. “This partnership will have a major impact in connecting the unconnected in Richmond, and we thank Comcast for its continued investments in our communities.”
In addition to direct outreach to community members, Comcast is partnering with community leaders to support a series of upcoming events in the Richmond area to drive awareness of ACP, including:
July 19 (3:30-6 p.m.): Richmond Digital Navigators ACP Event – Mosby Court Apartment Homes, 1543 Coalter St Richmond, VA
July 29 (10 a.m.-4 p.m.): Richmond Public Schools – Summer Fest – George Whythe High School, 4314 Crutchfield St Richmond, VA
August 10 (9 a.m.-4 p.m.): Richmond 6th Annual Backpack Supply Drive – Richmond Raceway, 600 E Laburnum Ave Richmond, VA 23222
August 13 (3:30-6 p.m.): Richmond Digital Navigators ACP Event – Whitcomb Court Apartment Homes, 2302 Carmine St, Richmond, VA 23223
August 23 (3:30-6 p.m.): Richmond Digital Navigators ACP Event – Fairfield Court Apartment Homes, 2101 N 23rd St, Richmond, VA 23223
September 2 (3:30-6 p.m.): Richmond Digital Navigators ACP Event – Hillside/Fairfield/Mosby/Gilpin/Whitcomb Apartments – 203 W Charity St Richmond, VA 23223
September 13 (3:30-6 p.m.): Richmond Digital Navigators ACP Event – Creighton Court Apartments – Richmond VA 23223
The Digital Navigator model is a highly effective and research-driven approach that engages trusted community organizations to address the root causes of the digital divide – including access to technology, affordability and digital skills – the essential foundations for Internet adoption. A recent study from the Boston Consulting Group surveyed more than 1,500 people nationwide who used Digital Navigator services and revealed the critical role Digital Navigators play in closing the digital divide and reducing socioeconomic inequalities. Key takeaways include:
More than 65% of survey respondents said they obtained Internet access or a computer or tablet at home; among Hispanic and Black Americans, this increased to 72%.
More than 85% of all respondents said they used the Internet more frequently.
Almost half surveyed obtained better healthcare, and 40% received support with basic needs like food, rent, and housing.
1 in 3 found a new job or earned a higher income.
“The federal government’s Affordable Connectivity Program is a game-changing opportunity to connect people to the Internet, including many for the first time,” said Michael Parker, Senior Vice President of Comcast’s Beltway Region. “One of the biggest challenges is overcoming low awareness of the program and ensuring people have the digital skills to sign up. That’s why partnering with trusted community voices like The Purple Zone is so critical to getting people online so they can participate in today’s digital economy.”
Comcast is deeply committed to advancing digital equity in the communities it serves, including through initiatives such as its Digital Navigator program in Richmond. The company’s recent community partnerships in Virginia have totaled $43.6 million in cash and in-kind contributions to more than 120 local non-profits in recent years. This investment includes the installation of 14 Lift Zones in Virginia, including three in Richmond, which provide free, high-speed WiFi service to local community centers to promote digital learning. These programs are part of Project UP, Comcast’s comprehensive, 10-year, $1 billion commitment to help build a future of unlimited possibilities and the continuation of the company’s long history of giving back to communities where it provides service and where its employees live and work.
Original Link: https://beltway.comcast.com/2023/07/18/comcast-partners-with-the-purple-zone-to-launch-digital-navigator-program-accelerate-internet-adoption-in-richmond/