Working Together to Bridge Arkansas’s Digital Divide
Arkansas’s broadband infrastructure is about to get a major boost – and more than 4,400 residents and businesses across three Arkansas counties will have access to fast internet service for the first time.
Comcast is honored to have been chosen to bring affordable high-speed broadband to these unserved and underserved residents and businesses in Faulkner, Cross and Pulaski counties over the next two years. Powered by more than $18 million in grants funded by the Arkansas Rural Connect program, as well as more than $16 million of additional dollars contributed by Comcast, it’s a big step toward the goal of making affordable and reliable high-speed broadband available to every Arkansas resident.
The pandemic taught us that quality home internet access is a basic requirement, not a luxury. Huge areas of modern life have permanently shifted online, from access to government information and services, to scheduling medical appointments, to streaming the latest hit TV show.
Businesses also can’t compete without access to broadband service. In today’s economy, even the most ground-level brick and mortar operation requires a website to attract potential customers. And both retail consumers and business-to-business partners expect e-commerce and online-only options for sales or customer support.
That’s why being selected to connect so many of Arkansas’s remaining unserved residents and business to the Xfinity 10G Network, a next-generation broadband network that continues to get smarter, faster, and more reliable, is so critical. It’s work that speaks to our most fundamental values and commitments as a company.
Comcast’s Internet Essentials program, for example, is the largest and most successful private-sector broadband adoption initiative for low-income families in the country. Since 2011, the program has helped over 10 million Americans access affordable high-speed internet at home, including more than 120,000 Arkansans.
Internet Essentials offers a low-cost home broadband connection as well as discounts on desktop, laptop or tablet computers. Combined with our participation in the federal Affordable Connectivity Program, which offers qualifying low-income families a $30 per month credit for broadband service, it effectively makes home internet free for millions.
Comcast has a longstanding commitment to bridging the divide. This includes operating local Wi-Fi connected Xfinity Lift Zones as community hubs where resources and information can be shared. It also pertains to our $1 billion Project Up commitment to closing the digital divide, advancing economic mobility, and opening doors for the next generation of creators.
Arkansas has a unique opportunity to close the digital divide and create a future of unlimited possibilities for its residents. It’s a vital moment, and we are grateful for the opportunity to put our expertise to work.
We hope this successful partnership inspires other communities across the state and the nation to set the bar high and commit to closing the digital divide and bringing affordable, high-speed internet to all.