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Comcast Increasing Speeds and Advancing Digital Equity

Submitted by Comcast

PTC Member News

COMCAST AWARDS $90,000 AND 50 LAPTOPS TO NEIGHBORHOOD ALLIES TO ADVANCE DIGITAL EQUITY

Grant and Equipment Will Launch Three-Pillar Digital Inclusion Initiative Focused on Broadband Adoption, Access, Educational Skills-Building and Certification

In celebration of National Digital Inclusion Week, Comcast today announced it has awarded a $90,000 grant and 50 laptops to Neighborhood Allies, a non-profit dedicated to making Pittsburgh neighborhoods equitable. The organization will use the grant and laptops to launch a digital inclusion initiative focused on broadband adoption, access to devices and educational skills-building tailored to the needs of individuals and small businesses. This announcement is part of Project UP, Comcast’s 10-year, $1 billion commitment to advance digital equity through programs and community partnerships that connect people to the Internet, advance economic mobility, and open doors for the next generation of innovators, entrepreneurs, storytellers and creators.

Neighborhood Allies plans to partner with the University of Pittsburgh Community Engagement Center Hill District, CCAC Homewood-Brushton and YMCA Homewood-Brushton to create Digital Navigators, individuals affiliated with trusted community organizations who are trained to help people access the Internet, use devices, and acquire digital skills. Once their training is complete, these Digital Navigators will educate Hilltop, Hill District, Homewood, Larimer, Millvale and Wilkinsburg residents and businesses in a wide range of digital skills and career coaching. Additionally, they will help residents learn about the federal government’s Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), which provides eligible low-income households with a credit up to $30 per month 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.

“In Pittsburgh, digital inclusion is more important than ever,” said Presley Gillespie, President and CEO of Neighborhood Allies. “Pittsburgh’s technology workforce increased by 7.5% and remote work options over 400% nationwide during the pandemic. Access to skills training, computers and Internet can help thousands of Allegheny County residents, workers and entrepreneurs pursue career opportunities that didn’t previously exist.” 

Neighborhood Allies also plans to host workshops focused on connectivity and digital skills training that will feature certifications such as Google Analytics and CompTIAA+ security training. In addition to neighborhood-based locations, training will also take place at CoLab18 in Nova Place on Pittsburgh’s North Side, one of Comcast’s 37 Allegheny County-based WiFi-connected Lift Zones – which provide free, high-speed WiFi to community members.   

This grant follows the announcement of a nationwide study by the Boston Consulting Group, which found that Digital Navigators are critical to closing the digital divide and reducing socioeconomic inequalities by helping more people get online.

The study surveyed 1,500 individuals across the country who received support from a Digital Navigator. With the support of these digital case workers:

  • More than 65 percent of survey respondents said they obtained Internet access or a computer or tablet at home; among Hispanic and Black Americans, this increased to 72 percent.
  • More than 85 percent of all respondents said they used the Internet more frequently.
  • Almost half surveyed obtained better healthcare, and 40 percent received support with basic needs like food, rent, and housing.
  • 1 in 3 found a new job or earned a higher income.

“Comcast knows that access to the Internet is vital but also recognizes that having the digital literacy skills to build and enhance career pathways and opportunities are just as critical,” said Alka Patel, Vice President of Government and External Affairs for Comcast’s Keystone Region. “We’re excited to deepen our partnership with Neighborhood Allies and join in their mission to bridge the digital divide in the Pittsburgh communities.” 

These efforts are all part of Project UP, Comcast’s comprehensive initiative to help build a future of unlimited possibilities. This multi-faceted initiative encompasses programs such as Internet Essentials, Lift Zones and Comcast RISE. Since its inception in 2011, Comcast’s Internet Essentials has connected more than 10 million low-income Americans to broadband service at home, including more than 200,000 in Allegheny County. Through Comcast RISE, a multi-year national initiative that supports small businesses owned by women or people of color in response to the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, we recently awarded $1 million in investment grants to Allegheny County businesses.

For additional information on Project UP and our digital equity initiatives, visit https://corporate.comcast.com/impact/project-up.


COMCAST INCREASING INTERNET SPEEDS AND LAUNCHES NEW 2 GIG SPEED TIER ACROSS THE NORTHEAST

Boosting Upload and Download Speeds Across Most Popular Tiers for Customers from Maine through Virginia Launching 2 Gig Speeds in Five Major Markets Before the End of 2022

Comcast today announced it will increase speeds for its most popular Xfinity Internet tiers across 14 northeastern states from Maine through Virginia and the District of Columbia. The company will also roll out new download speeds up to 2 gigabits-per-second (Gbps) – combined with up to 5x-to-10x faster upload speeds – for Xfinity customers in markets across the Northeast, including Baltimore, Boston, Hartford, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C before the end of the year.

“Comcast continues to be ahead of customer demand,” said Kevin Casey, Comcast Northeast Division President. “Through advanced digital network innovation, we are again evolving our network to provide faster speeds for customers and are excited to begin rolling out a multi-gig speed tier to customers in the Northeast.”

Boosting Internet Speeds for Most Popular Xfinity Tiers

The following speed increases will be offered to customers on Xfinity’s most popular speed tiers and will roll out over the coming weeks. This is the second time Comcast has increased speeds for customers in the Northeast this year, following our March 2022 speed increase.

Xfinity Internet Speed Increases:

  • Performance Starter from 50/10 to 75/10 Mbps
  • Doubling speeds for Performance from 100/10 to 200/10 Mbps
  • Performance Pro from 300/10 to 400/10 Mbps
  • Blast from 600/20 to 800/20 Mbps
  • Extreme Pro from 900/20 to 1 Gbps/20 Mbps
  • New Gigabit x2 tier in select markets for 2 Gbps/100 Mbps 

Comcast will also be doubling upload speeds nationally for all Internet Essentials Plus customers, from 100/10 Mbps to 100/20 Mbps. Internet Essentials Plus includes a cable modem, access to millions of WiFi hotspots, and unlimited data for $29.95 per month; and customers who qualify for the Affordable Connectivity Program can get this tier of service for free.

New 2 Gig Speeds and Faster Upload Speeds for xFi Complete Customers

Comcast recently embarked on the largest- and fastest-ever multi-gig deployment in the United States that will make multi-gig speeds available to more than 50 million homes and business by the end of 2025. Comcast Northeast Division teams have begun enabling these upgrades in Boston, Hartford and Philadelphia and will continue in Baltimore and Washington D.C before the end of the year.

As markets launch, Xfinity Internet customers who subscribe to xFi Complete, will have their upload speeds increased between 5 and 10 times faster. xFi Complete includes an xFi gateway, advanced cybersecurity protection at home and on the go, tech auto-upgrades for a new gateway after three years, and wall-to-wall WiFi coverage with an xFi Pod included if recommended. Now, another benefit of xFi Complete is faster upload speeds. 

New xFi Complete Speed Tiers:

  • Performance Starter from 75/10 to 75/75 Mbps
  • Performance from 200/10 to 200/100 Mbps
  • Performance Pro from 400/10 to 400/100 Mbps
  • Blast from 800/20 to 800/100 Mbps
  • Extreme Pro from 1 Gbps/20 to 1 Gbps/100 Mbps
  • Gigabit Plus from 1.2 Gbps/35 to 1.2 Gbps/200 Mbps 
  • New Gigabit x2 tier in select markets for 2 Gbps/200 Mbps 

The network updates that enable multi-gig speeds and faster uploads also accelerate Comcast’s work to evolve its entire network to 10G, which will deliver multigigabit upload and download speeds to tens of millions of Americans over the connections they already have in their homes. Comcast will begin offering 10G-enabled multi-gig symmetrical services in 2023.

“We’re virtualizing our network to make it even smarter, faster and more reliable,” said Ed Marchetti, Senior Vice President, Technical Operations and Engineering, Comcast Northeast Division. “The technical work we are doing to move key components to the cloud allows us to bring multi-gig speeds to our entire Northeast footprint faster and more ubiquitously than anyone else.”

Speeds Supported by an Unbeatable WiFi Experience

While fast speeds are table stakes, Comcast is regularly introducing new capabilities to help our customers manage their increasingly connected homes: 

  • Next-Level Cybersecurity: Advanced cybersecurity that blocks threats at the gateway, before they reach devices, to keep everyone safe and secure online.
  • WiFi Controls: A dashboard for all the devices connected to the home network with built-in capabilities to pause access, set up parental controls or automate screen-time rules. 
  • Wall-to-Wall Coverage: A reliable connection for all connected devices and coverage throughout the home with Xfinity xFi Pod WiFi extenders.
  • Most Recommended Mobile: A top-ranked mobile service according to the ACSI, Xfinity Mobile combines the most reliable 5G with more than 20 million WiFi hotspots to deliver the fastest mobile speeds in Comcast service areas and save people hundreds of dollars per year.
  • Unbeatable Entertainment: 4K streaming to enjoy content in one place and an award-winning voice remote to navigate between them seamlessly. Plus, thousands of hours of free entertainment.

More information about the industry’s efforts toward a 10G future can be found here. Visit Xfinity to learn more and sign up for these exciting new products.