Let’s chat about Comcast

Vertical scrolling infographic about the Comcast protests, narrated by illustrated birds.


[Panel 1] A bird sitting on swirly water with a chat bubble coming from their beak
Title: Let’s chat about… Comcast: What’s going on?


[Panel 2] Headline: What’s up with Comcast?
Text: Comcast is the largest cable company and internet provider in the US. They own Xfinity (who are in a business agreement with Verizon to obtain access to their network services), Skygroup, NBC, Dreamworks, and the Weather Channel.
Comcast’s assets make it what you call a “content company” AND a “cable company”.

After buying it’s competitors, including AT&T for 44 billion, Comcast has the monopoly on cable and internet.
They also have one of the largest PACs in the US and contribute millions of dollars to candidates for federal office each year-so far in 2020, those candidates have been 45% dem and 55% republican.
Comcast employs over 80,000 people including former congresspeople and lobbyists.

[Panel 3] An eagle perched on a branch with a chat bubble coming from their beak, with two chat bubbles below, one of which contains an illustration of the Philadelphia skyline and points to the Comcast building
Headline: What is comcast’s relationship with Philadelphia?
Text:Comcast’s headquarters is in Philadelphia, where they got their official start with the name “comcast” in 1969.
Comcast owns the Philadelphia Flyers, the Philadelphia Wings, and the Wells Fargo Center.
Comcast contributes to the Philadelphia Police Foundation, and a Comcast Director and Manager, Amelia Riley, sits on the police foundation’s board.
(Other notable contributors to this foundation are independence blue cross and Wawa)
In 2010, Comcast donated $20,000 and gave $60,000 worth of radio advertising to the police foundation, which then funneled that money to the PPD.


[Panel 4] Headline: This year…
Since the beginning of the pandemic, Comcast has simply promised no late fees, and no service shut offs for the foreseeable future. In July, there was outcry for Comcast (among others) to divest from the Police, which caused the Philadelphia police foundation to remove webpages listing their donors and board members, and delete their social media. They said this was to protect their investors from “harassment”.
Census data shows that 30% of households on Philadelphia with schoolchildren do not have internet access.

3.1% are on comcast’s internet essentials program, providing lower cost internet for lower income households.

Still, 58% of Philadelphia households making under 70,000 do not have internet.(50% of black households have internet access, whereas 74% of white households do)


[Panel 5] Text: The PHL school district superintendent, William Hite, had asked city internet providers months ago to open up residential hotspots for students, but he was told that “such hot spots were not engineered for broad public use”Headline: What happened this month?
Text: The first week of August, two major protests emerged In front of the Comcast building in center city, demanding they provide internet access for “all Philly kids”. One was organized by the Movement Alliance Project, the Party for Socialism and Liberation, and the Caucus of Working Educators, among others. They called on Comcast to “fund Black futures” and open residential wifi hotspots. At the first protest there were over 200 people, including city council member Helen Gym. Protestors tried to deliver a letter to Compact CEO (Brian Roberts) but police blocked them from entering the building.

[Panel 6] Three chat bubbles, the third of which sits inside a red box with another colorful bird narrating the headline.
Text: On August 5th, the Philadelphia Administrators Union (over 700 admins) called for the same demands, pointing out that “Many (Black and Brown families) only have access through a mobile device. Large corporations like Comcast and Verizon do not run the newest equipment in high poverty and rural areas.
…This is not just an urban issue. The lack of high-speed internet in these communities puts our students at a disadvantage,” says John W. Spencer.
Headline: so NOW what’s happening?

[Panel 7] Text: On August 6th, Comcast announced their PHLconnectED program-pledging to provide free internet for 35,000 low income families. Some households will receive a broadband connection, and some will receive wifi hotspots.

Comcast will also be providing students with “digital navigators” to aid in tech assistance as well as learning/language accommodations. The cost of this program will be $17 million.
It will be funded by the CARES act, private donors, the PHL school system + charters, and Comcast itself.

2 million will come from the CARES act, 7 million will come from Comcast itself,
and the PHL school district and charter’s expected cost is still not publicly known, but there are private donors who have already offered to cover that portion.
Comcast could have easily paid for this program themselves, seeing as their net income was 13 billion in 2019 🙂

[Panel 8] One text box with an illustrated Comcast logo sitting beneath it.
Text: City officials say that this program will continue for two years, and they would LIKE to continue it in years to follow, if they have “adequate funding”.
Let’s put pressure on Comcast to make this permanent-we know they have the funding.