In another move to mitigate internet connectivity issues across the country, and amid ongoing calls for increased support for digital access during the pandemic and beyond, Comcast announced Thursday it would be setting up 1,000 Wi-Fi-connected “Lift Zones” in community centers across the country.
The multi-year program is primarily to ensure that students or families who may need internet access for schooling, studying or remote work will have a safe, dedicated space to do so.
“Lift Zones complement the work we’re doing through Internet Essentials and our efforts through partner programs like PHLConnectED,” said Jim Samaha, regional SVP of Comcast’s Freedom Region, which serves Greater Philadelphia, in a statement. “These spaces will fill a gap for families experiencing challenges with housing, or other issues, or for anyone who needs a place to get online and access the resources they need.”
The first 200 Lift Zones have been identified, and more will open this year across more than a dozen cities. As of Thursday, Lift Zones were slated for cities like Baltimore (at Union Baptist Church in Upton), Chicago, St. Paul and Trenton. The City of Philadelphia will also upgraded 26 of its Parks & Recreation centers to Lift Zones with business gigabit speeds.
“Our Parks & Recreation centers are anchors of our communities where Philadelphians of all ages access critical services year-round,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “Having high capacity Wi-Fi at our busiest rec centers is a game-changer for our residents, especially families that rely on them for virtual learning and other youth programs. This effort will go a long way in helping connect neighborhoods and I thank Comcast for their continued partnership.”
Lift Zone connectivity will be accessible during the rec centers’ normal hours. The 26 Philadelphia centers set to become Lift Zones are:
- A. Albert Cherashore Playground
- Cobbs Creek Recreation Center
- East Passyunk Community Recreation Center
- Ernest L. Tustin Playground
- Francis J. Myers Recreation Center
- George C. Pelbano Playground
- Hawthorne Cultural Center
- Holmesburg Recreation Center
- Hunting Park Recreation Center
- J. Francis Finnegan Playground
- James Lee Wright Recreation Center
- Lawncrest Recreation Center
- Lower Mayfair Playground
- Marian Anderson Recreation Center
- Martin Luther King Recreation Center
- Mayfair Recreation Center
- Officer Daniel Boyle Memorial Recreation Center
- Olney Recreation Center
- Parkside-Evans Recreation Center
- Penrose Playground
- Samuel Recreation Center
- Simons Youth Center & Teen Center
- Simpson Recreation Center
- Stenton Park Playground
- Vogt Recreation Center
- William A. Lackman Memorial Playground
A Comcast spokesperson said the telecommunications corporation will work with local partners to identify other potential Lift Zone locations.
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