Civic News
Digital access / Internet / Nonprofits / Philadelphia

Comcast extended its fiber network to reach 70+ orgs and Philabundance in South Philly

The move brings high-speed internet to the nonprofit's massive food distribution hub for the first time.

Loree Jones, Philabundance executive director in June 2020. (Courtesy photo)
Full disclosure: Comcast is a Talent client. That relationship is unrelated to this report.

Comcast Business made a significant expansion in its fiber network with a new $2 million project serving South Philadelphia.

The company said Tuesday that the expansion will serve more than 70 businesses and organizations near Packer Avenue just east of the Philadelphia Sports Complex, including food insecurity-focused nonprofit Philabundance. The 40-year-old org maintains a large facility on South Galloway Street where volunteers and workers sort and distribute food to about 135,000 people in the region per week.

Why does it matter? When Comcast initially built its network in Philadelphia, broadband or high-speed internet wasn’t yet the standard. Its fiber expansion to the area means its now able to deliver speeds up to 1.2 Gigabit per second (Gbps) for small- and medium-sized businesses and up to 100 Gbps for larger enterprises.

The telecoms giant is currently the largest internet service provider in Philadelphia, and services 60 million homes and businesses in the country. On a tour of a Comcast headend facility last month, company reps told that when service is expanded to a new area, there’s a lot of physical infrastructure involved: Fibers and nodes are placed, and sometimes a new headend needs to be established.

Comcast laying fiber and coax cable. (Courtesy photo)

This particular project involved many blocks of underground work, laying both fiber and coax cable, and required building a trench underneath I-95 to reach the area, a Comcast spokesperson said. The fiber expansion will reportedly allow these South Philly orgs to access high-speed internet services for the first time.

“Not only will access to our network in Philadelphia and New Jersey provide greater support to more businesses in the area, but it will help a local nonprofit operate more efficiently and focus on providing children, families and seniors with access to food and meals,” said Michael Louden, regional VP for Comcast Business’ Freedom Region, in a statement.

Philabundance is joined by many other large facilities owned by food distributors in this area, though Comcast couldn’t name which the expansion served. The nonprofit’s 48,000-square-foot facility works with a network of 350 partners, including churches, hospitals, schools and libraries, and distributed 52,000,000 pounds of food in 2021.

“Having reliable internet service is essential for us to provide the best support to our agency partners and the people they serve,” said Loree D. Jones, CEO of Philabundance, in a release.

Companies: Philabundance / Comcast

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