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Digital Equity Initiatives in Independence/Blue Springs

  • Wednesday, August 25, 2021, 9:29 pm
  • ACROFAN=Newswire
One critical lesson from the COVID-19 crisis is the importance of a reliable home Internet connection. With schools closed, and people working remote, the Internet became, and still is, the sole means for connecting. But not everyone has equal access to the Internet. This is a major challenge in cities across the Kansas City metro, including Independence and Blue Springs, and it is something Comcast is working hard to address. Currently, Comcast and its partners are celebrating the 10-year anniversary of their Internet Essentials program, which is one of the longest running in-home Internet connectivity programs for low-income families in the nation.

Over the last decade, Comcast has been connecting low-income Americans to the Internet through its Internet Essentials program, which has helped connect more than 10 million low-income Americans to the Internet at home including Independence and Blue Springs. While the program provides in-home broadband Internet service and an included WiFi router for $9.95/month, the onsite of the coronavirus epidemic galvanized the need for the company to try to do even more to help connect the unconnected. During the pandemic, Comcast launched two new programs to help: Lift Zones and Internet Essentials Partnership Program.

Lift Zones provide free WiFi access in community centers where students and adults can get online. Lift Zones are designed to help those students who, for a variety of reasons, are unable to participate in distance learning at home. There are currently two active Lift Zones in the Greater Kansas City Area—two in Independence at the Boys & Girls Clubs.

Also, during the pandemic Comcast introduced its Internet Essentials Partnership Program, designed to help accelerate Internet adoption. The program provides the opportunity for school districts and other organizations to fund and quickly connect large numbers of students and families to broadband access at home. Comcast has also partnered with the federal government’s Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) program to help those who need access to Internet at their home, learn virtually and stay informed. The benefit is available to new and existing Internet customers who qualify across all tiers of service. To see if you qualify go to

For Libet Ojeda, Internet Essentials meant educational stability for her chil­dren, continuing school online throughout 2020 and 2021, and additional language support for their Spanish-speaking family.

“When the pandemic hit, I was fearful of what virtual support my family would have,” stated Libet Ojeda. “My two children are in 5th and 6th grade in the Fort Osage School District and when we had to be at home altogether we were thrilled that Internet Essentials gave us the option for uninterrupted support that was affordable. I cannot say enough about the importance the IE program has been for our family to have the stability to keep learning on the internet. My daughter suffers from dyslexia and the audio books she is able to use on her tablet has made a big difference in her progress. Without the Internet Essentials program she wouldn’t have the support she needs. My son is on the Individualized Education Plan and the IE support he continually receives for his listening and hearing needs is huge. We are a Spanish speaking family and the ability to also get language access support through the IE service has been a game changer for us and other families we know. We even received additional credits through the Comcast IE partnership with the EBB program.”

“Ten years is a remarkable milestone, signifying an extraordinary amount of work and collaboration with our incredible community partners across the country,” said Dave Watson, Chief Executive Officer, Comcast Cable. “Together, we have been able to connect millions of people to the power of the Internet at home, and to the endless opportunity, education, growth, and discovery it provides. Today, we are rededicating ourselves to this mission to ensure that the next generation of students in America has the tools, resources, and abilities they need to succeed in an increasingly digital world.”

“I would like to express my gratitude to the team at Comcast,” remarked Dr. Dred Scott, President & CEO of the Boys & Girls Club of Kansas City. “Adding the Lift Zones to the Independence and Olathe Clubs to help our students access the Internet is huge. During the pandemic many of our youth were forced to learn from home without having the technology, hardware and infrastructure to support that learning. I want to thank each and every member of the Comcast team that made the Lift Zone initiatives possible within our Clubs. It means so much because of the connection they have with the club. This relationship and this partnership is much more than a transactional experience.”

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

Comcast Corporation (Nasdaq: CMCSA) is a global media and technology company that connects people to moments that matter. We are principally focused on broadband, aggregation, and streaming with over 56 million customer relationships across the United States and Europe. We deliver broadband, wireless, and video through our Xfinity, Comcast Business, and Sky brands; create, distribute, and stream leading entertainment, sports, and news through Universal Filmed Entertainment Group, Universal Studio Group, Sky Studios, the NBC and Telemundo broadcast networks, multiple cable networks, Peacock, NBCUniversal News Group, NBC Sports, Sky News, and Sky Sports; and provide memorable experiences at Universal Parks and Resorts in the United States and Asia. Visit for more information.