Comcast Joins with Local Community-based Organizations to Launch WiFi-Connected “Lift Zones” in Several Rockford and other Northwest Illinois Locations

A Lift Zone sticker on a community center door

Lift Zones provide safe spaces where students and families can access the Internet for school, homework and digital skills building

August 2, 2021 – Comcast announced the launch of new WiFi-connected “Lift Zones” at community centers in several Rockford and other Northwest Illinois locations. Lift Zones are safe spaces where students and families can get online for distance learning, to do homework, to learn new digital skills and to search for employment. The new Lift Zones are located at:

Later this summer, a Lift Zone will open at Northwest Neighbors Development Group’s Spark Center in Rockford.

The COVID-19 crisis put many low-income students and families at risk of being left behind and accelerated the need for comprehensive digital equity and Internet adoption programs to support them. The Lift Zones are part of a larger multiyear plan by Comcast to support community-organization based WiFi at more than 1,000 Lift Zones throughout the country – including the Rockford area. The Lift Zones also are an extension of the company’s longstanding commitment to help connect low-income families to the Internet and provide resources to help them take advantage of educational opportunities and the digital economy.  The Lift Zones complement Comcast’s Internet Essentials program, a low-cost Internet adoption program for low-income families, which has helped connect more than 10 million people to the Internet at home since it was launched in 2011. Through the company’s Internet Essential Partnership Program, Comcast joined with Belvidere District 100, Freeport School District 145, Rockford Public Schools District 205 and The Literacy Council to bring Internet service into even more low-income homes to ease the challenges of distance learning and remote work during the pandemic.

“Access to the Internet is crucial for building the skills necessary to succeed in school and participate in today’s – and tomorrow’s – economy,” said Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara. “I appreciate Comcast for its long-term efforts to close the digital divide and for stepping up during the pandemic and partnering with our schools and our community centers to connect even more citizens.”

“COVID-19 shed an even brighter light on the digital divide and the importance of Internet access is for learning, working remotely and building the digital skills necessary for today’s workforce,” said Joyce D. Higgins, AARC at Booker Washington Community Center Executive Director.  “A lot of kids go to community centers after school, and robust Internet access will help them do their homework and succeed in school.”

“Our mission is to improve the quality of life for youth in our community, regardless of sex, race or economic background,” said Cliff Stoner, Boys & Girls Clubs of Rockford President and CEO.  “The Lift Zones will help us deliver on our mission and the myriad programs and services we provide to the children we serve.”

“Through Internet Essentials, Comcast has helped hundreds of thousands of Illinois families cross the digital divide,” said Matthew Summy, Comcast’s Regional Vice President of External and Government Affairs.  “I’m proud that Comcast recognized the impact of the digital divide early on, stepped up and now continues to offer solutions that further our commitment to communities through the creation of Lift Zones and the Internet Essentials Partnership Program.”

Comcast continues to offer, through the end of 2021, all new Internet Essentials customers two months of free Internet service.  Comcast also continues to extend free access to its 1.5 million public Xfinity WiFi hotspots to anyone who needs them, including non-customers, through the end of 2021. These hotspots are located in public places like small businesses, parks and transportation hubs and are in addition to the Lift Zones.

Lastly, Comcast’s Internet Essentials program also makes a range of educational resources available online for anyone to access at The Learning Portal provides videos and materials about topics like: Internet Basics, Online Safety and Security, Building New Skills and Getting Things Done. The site also links to a number of free educational websites for students.

About Comcast Corporation

Comcast Corporation (Nasdaq: CMCSA) is a global media and technology company with three primary businesses: Comcast Cable, NBCUniversal, and Sky. Comcast Cable is one of the United States’ largest video, high-speed Internet, and phone providers to residential customers under the Xfinity brand, and also provides these services to businesses. It also provides wireless and security and automation services to residential customers under the Xfinity brand. NBCUniversal is global and operates news, entertainment and sports cable networks, the NBC and Telemundo broadcast networks, television production operations, television station groups, Universal Pictures, and Universal Parks and Resorts. Sky is one of Europe’s leading media and entertainment companies, connecting customers to a broad range of video content through its pay television services. It also provides communications services, including residential high-speed Internet, phone, and wireless services. Sky operates the Sky News broadcast network and sports and entertainment networks, produces original content, and has exclusive content rights. Visit for more information.

With nearly 6,000 local employees, Comcast’s Greater Chicago Region
( serves customers in central and northern Illinois, including the Chicago area, northwest Indiana and southwest Michigan. “Like” Comcast’s Greater Chicago Region on Facebook by visiting @Comcast. “Follow” Comcast’s Greater Chicago Region on Twitter at @ComcastIllinois.

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