This post was sponsored by Comcast but all opinions are my own.
Pandemic stress remains at an all time high across many states in the United States. Restrictions and reminders have been relaxed as many feel that progress is being made only to turn on the television and see the daily numbers increase. The impending fear of holiday gatherings has government officials realizing that it is time to bunker down yet again. During a “virtual night out” for a group of Philadelphia influencers, Comcast shares the ways in which it is helping to help ease pandemic stress with innovative programs for all. They continue to be a major contributor to the Philadelphia region.
Comcast R.I.S.E.- (Representation, Investment, Strength, and Empowerment) was recently launched to help strengthen and empower small businesses that have been hit hard by the pandemic. Many small businesses especially those owned by persons of color are trying to find ways to ride the wave and pivot if necessary. Historically these businesses are underfunded and face many growth obstacles that white counterparts never experience. As part of RISE, small black owned businesses will be provided access to tools and resources needed to survive and thrive. The program is part of Comcast $100 million Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiative that launch this past summer. Small businesses help to boost the local economy and stimulate growth. Eligibility requirements and updates can be found by visiting https://www.ComastRISE.com
Comcast provides low-cost internet access to low-income and underserved families under its Internet Essentials program. The virtual shift to distance learning for many students in the Philadelphia area has called attention to the digital divide. A number of families remain disconnected causing students to fall behind or be forced to find less than favorable conditions to attempt to connect. PHLConnectED is an accelerated program to help ensure that the availability of WiFi is not the reason that students fall behind. This partnership between Comcast, the City of Philadelphia, Philadelphia schools and civic leaders within various organizations is a bridge to decrease this significant barrier.
PHLConnectED has three core components.
- Free wired, high-speed, reliable broadband internet to the home from Comcast’s Internet Essentials program, or a high-speed mobile hotspot for families who are housing-insecure from T-Mobile.
- Distribution of devices, such as Chromebooks, tablets or computers (Devices have already been paid for and procured through the School District, some Charters and private funds).
- Free skill training and tech support for students, families and teachers to ensure they not only get connected, but also stay connected and safely take full advantage of all that the Internet has to offer.
Help for Parents
Pandemic stress is hitting parents from different angles as they are forced to become teachers while attempting to work from home. While there are many jokes and memes about this new way of life, the average parent does not find it fun or comforting. Your WiFi connection should not add to the stress of learning the new math. Ken Sedberry, Comcast’s expert “WiFi doctor,” offered five WiFi tips for running a busy home.
- Place router in the center of home. Avoid dead spaces such as the basement or far corners. To increase connection speeds considering using the new, next generation xFi Pods. These pods offer 2x normal connections speeds and are easy to use.
- Router should be clear of obstructions and placed in an open area.
- Plan your time wisely. Certain activities require lots of bandwidth. It might be wise to pause gaming and/or streaming while on important video or work calls. Consider moving closer to the router and hardwiring your device.
- Your device makes a difference. Newer devices generally process quicker and adapt to the speed of your connection. School issue devices might be best used in the same room as the router.
- Utilize the Xfinity xFi app to run speed test and monitor your WiFi network. This app also allows you to control screen time and see what devices are connected to your network.
For families that don’t want to commit to a full cable package, Internet-only subscribers have access to Xfinity Flex, for free. Flex integrates hundreds of streaming services and thousands of free shows and movies – all accessible via the Xfinity Voice Remote.. Also new, NBCUniversal’s streaming service, Peacock, which is a premium, ad-supported service that features originals, an extensive movie library, news and more.. Xfinity customers get the premium tier for free but you can also upgrade and have access to different levels of programming. Hulu is also now available on the X1 and Flex platform with more to come.
The Xfinity Voice Remote is also an educational resource for children of all ages. Just say “education” into the remote and array of grade-level content will appear. School should be an essential part of your child’s lives and these resources keep them engaged.
Finding the Best of What to Watch!
Family Night just got easier. Xfinity offers one stop access to holiday music, movies, games and more. Watch some of your favorite animated films using voice commands such as “Kids Holiday” or “Holiday Music.
Santa Tracker is coming and lots of other things to get the kids excited this season!