Comcast Helps SeaTac, Des Moines, Other Highline Youth Through Back-to-School Event

Comcast partners with the Highline School District to headline two Back to School events: It’s twice the fun and twice the impact.

Comcast returned as the Presenting Sponsor of Highline School District’s Back-to-School Resource Fairs. On August 7 and 14, nearly 4,000 people attended two back-to-school fairs, making this one of the largest back to school efforts in the region.  The signature fair was held at Valley Ridge Park in SeaTac, while a second occurred at the Steven J. Underwood Memorial Park in Des Moines.

The idea behind the resource fairs was to give low-income families in the school district an opportunity to pick up free school supplies and services and enjoy kid-friendly activities in anticipation of the new school year.

  • Nearly 3,000 free backpacks full of grade-appropriate school supplies? Check.
  • A free haircut to look slick on your first day of school? Check.
  • A one-stop shop to screen your child’s vision, medical, and dental needs? Check.
  • A Comcast tent with a red carpet-style photo booth, student-led robotics demos and discounted Internet service opportunities? Oh yeah.

Due to Comcast’s continued partnership with the Highline School District, the district Foundation developed a second school fair this year for low-income families in Des Moines where volunteers gave away 600 backpacks and 1,500 people attended. Coordinating a second event this season made it easier for families in the school district with sometimes limited transportation options and schedules to access the needed school resources and services.

Each year, Comcast in Washington supports the back-to-school season with philanthropy, volunteer time, and always with the families and students in mind. Here’s a word from our partner:

“Comcast has been and continues to be an instrumental partner for Highline Schools Foundation,” said Ashley Fosberg, Highline Schools Foundation Executive Director. “Their support of the SeaTac Back-to-School Fair is extraordinary–and it is because of Comcast’s partnership that we were able to take a leadership role in creating an additional back to school fair to serve students and families in Des Moines this year.

“They understand the need our families have to be connected online to their school communities and to district resources,” Fosberg continued. “At the back-to-school fairs, they provided Internet access so families could sign up for free and reduced lunch and explore other important district supports online. We are grateful for their commitment to Highline students and families.”

Comcast also supported back-to-school efforts across the state, in Spokane Valley, ensuring local students there had necessary school supplies.

Here are some photos to enjoy, courtesy of photographer Joseph Walsh: https://www.flickr.com/photos/77474698@N07/sets/72157646490828001/

Comcast Business Brings Multi-Gigabit Ethernet To Underserved Commercial Areas in Kent

Comcast_Kent_Const_007

Comcast crews installing fiber network in commercial areas of Kent

SEATTLE, WA – August 13, 2014 – Comcast Business today announced the expansion of its commercial fiber network, capable of bandwidth up to 10 Gigabits per second (Gbps), to underserved commercial areas in Kent, Washington, the sixth largest city in the state. The network build out will bring Comcast Business Ethernet services to more than 150 local businesses for the first time, providing a cost-effective solution to increase speed, scale bandwidth, or connect multiple office locations on one dedicated network.

“We are pleased that Comcast is making this investment in our community,” said Kent Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Officer Andrea Keikkala. “Connecting underserved commercial areas with high capacity bandwidth for their Internet and data needs is vital for our local businesses to expand and relocate, which creates more jobs and economic opportunities.”

Comcast will focus on maintaining and expanding its fiber network throughout commercial areas in the Kent Valley, located at 72nd Avenue South from 180th on the north side to South 196th St on the south side. With this enhanced access to secure and reliable Ethernet, businesses of all sizes in Kent can more effectively leverage the Internet to help increase productivity, provide better customer services, streamline their supply chain, or move their IT applications to the cloud. Kent’s diverse economic base includes manufacturing, distribution, warehousing, professional services and retail companies. As these companies expand and grow, Comcast Business Ethernet can also scale to meet these evolving bandwidth consumption demands.

“While the Puget Sound region is known for its strong ties to the technology industry, some commercial areas suffer from lack of ‘last mile’ access to high-speed Internet and data, limiting the ability for resident companies to achieve their full potential,” said Matt Fassnacht, Vice President of Comcast Business for Washington. “This expansion will help companies in Kent to grow and expand their businesses, while helping to increase operational efficiency.”

All of Comcast Business’s Ethernet services are delivered over an advanced network that spans 140,000 miles across 39 states and the District of Columbia. Serving 20 of the top 25 U.S. markets, Comcast has more than one million Ethernet-enabled buildings on its network. Fiber-based Ethernet services are available in bandwidth levels up to 10 Gbps and can be scaled in increments and offered in three different classes of service, backed by strict service level agreements and monitored 24x7x365 from Comcast’s dedicated Network Operations Centers.

In the past year, Comcast received three Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF) Carrier Ethernet Awards, including the prestigious Service Provider of the Year for North America. In addition, Comcast Business was recently named the fastest-growing company ranked on Vertical Systems Group’s year-end 2013 U.S. Carrier Ethernet LEADERBOARD.

About Comcast Business
Comcast Business, a unit of Comcast Cable, provides advanced communication solutions to help organizations of all sizes meet their business objectives. Through a next-generation network that is backed by 24/7 technical support, Comcast delivers Business Internet, Ethernet, TV and a full portfolio of Voice services for cost-effective, simplified communications management.

For more information, call 866-429-3085.

Follow us on Twitter @ComcastBusiness and on other social media networks at http://business.comcast.com/social.

About Comcast Cable
Comcast Cable is the nation’s largest video, high-speed Internet and phone provider to businesses and residential customers. Comcast has invested in technology to build an advanced network that delivers among the fastest broadband speeds, and brings customers personalized video, communications and home management offerings. Comcast Corporation (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) is a global media and technology company. Visit http://www.comcastcorporation.com for more information.

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Choosing Kindness: the #VKind Booth at @VloggerFair

So a funny thing happened on the way to a sponsorship.

I was talking last year with Chris Pirillo, the tech personality and enthusiast, about his first ever VloggerFair, dedicated to the YouTube video community. VloggerFair is a place where fans meet video bloggers. It sounded like a cool event. Video blogging and YouTube are the rage (check out this month’s cover story in Fast Company). Chris was planning another VloggerFair for Aug. 16, 2014, and I figured, maybe we can donate and throw a banner with our logo on the wall: You know, how companies always do when they sponsor something.

VKind logo for VloggerFair

The #VKind booth, which is sort of an anti-cyberbullying booth, has its own logo to go with the hashtag! Click on it for more information about our #VKind project.

But then Chris kept talking – if you know Chris, that’s a surprise :) and thank heavens he did. I had just assumed the audience for VloggerFair would be like Chris’ famous Lockergnome events, where the typical audience member was a young guy in his 20s. But Chris said a huge number of popular video bloggers share about topics like fashion and makeup and family. As a result, a huge percentage of the people attending his first VloggerFair were girls of middle and high school age. That was news. I’d been thinking that VloggerFair was a techie event. In fact, it’s a family event, focused on teens.

And that’s when the light went on: if the audience was teen girls … what a great place to confront the subject of cyberbullying.

Comcast is a strong supporter of causes that promote digital literacy. To my mind, a big piece of being literate as you move through cyberspace is how you handle the huge influx of negative comments that can come on you in the digital sphere. And of course a lot’s been said about the high cost of cyberbullying, so I don’t have to explain that. This post is long enough!

Anyways, I had no experience with a sponsorship related to cyberbulling. Thus began several months of investigation: What could we sponsor at VloggerFair that would be of some use in the sometimes overheated world of cyberbullying?

I talked to some experts who offered to come speak, but that just didn’t seem right for VloggerFair, which doesn’t have speakers. It’s a big meetup, not a set of panels. People of all ages are coming to actually meet celebrities like Tyler Oakley and ijustine. The audience is always on the move, and certainly not there to get some big lecture. There’s an industry of people and groups out there who will come talk to people about cyberbullying; but this wasn’t the right venue for them.

The light dawned when two doctors from Seattle Children’s Hospital met up with me and Katherine Parra, Comcast’s summer communications intern from the University of Washington. Drs. Ellen Selkie and Yolanda Evans, who treat young women in the adolescent medicine clinic, suggested a booth that emphasizes how you can choose kindness in your digital messages. That got Katherine thinking and she handed me her phone, which had a picture of her 13-year-old niece at a photo booth, posing with friends and funny signs.  Clearly, the young woman and her friends were celebrating each other and joy. And kindness, joy, and celebrating friends are what sustain us when digital life gets difficult.

And so the #VKind photo booth was born. I should quickly add that this has been a team effort, and you can find members of the team here. I’ve been so grateful for people who embrace this message of Kindness, including Chris himself and then Lynn Edwards who runs Proper Planning, which organizes VloggerFair. My colleague here at Comcast, Community Relations Manager Diem Ly did the actual work of designing the booth – while I was ranting about this or other high concept, she’s made the booth real. Steve Kipp, our VP of Communications, said yes to this whole thing, which does have some cost, and offered his own ideas.

So this Saturday, anyone – certainly not just young ladies – is welcome to come by the booth and have their photo taken with any of the fun signs. The message is simple: we’re all about being #VKind.

To my delight, the research team from Children’s is going to have some people there offering a survey to youth 14 and older. The survey will ask the youth what they’d do if they saw someone experiencing cyberbullying. The team hopes to use this information to get a sense of what teens are doing now, and how the medical community and others can help. I used to work at the University of Washington Health Sciences Center, so it tickles me that the Comcast booth can help in some incremental way in adding to our understanding about cyberbullying.

And will people want to be #VKind? We sure hope so!

Because the audience will be packed with middle and high school aged girls, we didn’t announce this booth with a news release. That’s so 2008. No, we asked teen video blogger Riley Williamson to be a host at our booth and to announce what we’re doing. And that’s what she did. You’ll find her announcement below.

If you call up Riley’s page and say something like “What the heck is this?” then you’re not familiar with video blogging. Time to get tuned in. This is a new wave of social communication. You’ll find a list of VloggerFair participants here.  Check them out.

To wrap up … If you had told me a year ago that Comcast would be sponsoring a photo booth with funny signs in pursuit of digital literacy and have it announced by a 15-year-old … no, nope,  I would not have laughed at you. I’ve been immersed in social media too long to say anything’s unlikely. I would have grinned at you and said, “I can’t wait to see that happen.”

And now I really can’t wait to see that happen! Keep an eye out for the hashtag #VKind on Saturday. And Saturday or later, click here to see what images and messages get shared. 

Spokane’s Xfinity Store is Moving Aug. 11

xfinity sign going into place

Baldwin Signs of Spokane hoisted the new Xfinity sign onto the Division location on Friday afternoon.

Wednesday, Aug 27 Update: How cool that our new store coincides with the return of Gonzaga University students to class. On Saturday, Aug. 30, we’ll have special events all day. We’ll host live remotes from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. by Coyote Country Radio and then KZZU from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. We’re expecting a visit from Gonzaga’s mascot, Spike, that afternoon! Come back and check out the fun (and college specials: click here for more info on back-to-school specials )

Comcast will be opening a new XFINITY Store at 4423 N Division St.  in Spokane on Monday, Aug. 11. The 3,500-square-foot center is designed around the needs of customers and provides Comcast customers with an opportunity to explore, learn about and interact directly with the latest XFINITY products and services.  It becomes the sixth XFINITY Store in Washington after stores in Federal Way, Factoria, Puyallup, Auburn and Redmond. (it edges out a new store in Tacoma opening four days later)

The new service center will feature 55”-flat-screen TVs and a comfortable seating area.  Customers also can try out Comcast’s converged services and popular apps on iPad’s, like the XFINITY TV app.  Kiosks around the center also provide customers with the opportunity to experience XFINITY TV and try out next-generation XFINITY Home smarthome services.

The new location at 4423 N. Division St. is two blocks south of the NorthTown Mall. The XFINITY Customer Service Center will be open Monday thru Saturday from 9am to 7pm and Sunday from Noon to 4pm.

“We’re proud to provide our customers with a place where they can experience our XFINITY products and services firsthand and check out the latest technology in an interactive environment,” said Ken Watts, general manager of Comcast in Spokane. “This new model has a more welcoming design, and most important, a new attitude as we apply the same mindset of innovation, speed and utility that our customers love about our products to our customer service.”

Customers have been notified of the move through posters and leaflets at the current location, and other messages such as radio broadcasts and advertising. The Comcast service center on Buckeye Avenue, which is located within a residential neighborhood, will close after the new store begins operation.

Comcast currently has 14  service centers located throughout Western Washington and Spokane.

Updated Aug. 11. Here’s how to spot the Xfinity store, with signage all in place. 

Early heads-up: Xfinity Store is moving (a few blocks) in Tacoma on Aug. 25

future store's storefront

In this view on Thursday, July 31, it’s clear they’re still putting the finishing touches on the new Tacoma Xfinity store, which is a few blocks from the current location. Stay tuned for updates.

Comcast will be opening a new XFINITY™ Store at 5935 6th Avenue in Tacoma on Monday, Aug. 25. The 4,600-square-foot center is designed entirely around the needs of customers and provides Comcast customers with an opportunity to explore, learn about and interact directly with the latest XFINITY products and services.  It becomes the seventh XFINITY Store in Washington after stores in Federal Way, Factoria, Puyallup, Auburn, Redmond and Spokane.

The new location is only a few blocks from the current location at 5401 6th Avenue S. The new store is near the L.A. Fitness that you say see from Highway 16 and in the same complex as Safeway.

Just to be clear, the current location is still in business until the new store opens.

The new service center will feature 55”-flat-screen TVs and a comfortable seating area.  Customers also can try out Comcast’s converged services and popular apps on iPads, like the XFINITY TV app.  Kiosks around the center also provide customers with the opportunity to experience XFINITY TV and try out next-generation XFINITY Home services.

In addition, customers receive personalized service from trained and knowledgeable Comcast Service Consultants and more time-saving offerings, including a self-service kiosk for quick bill pay and a queue system that allows customers to explore and be entertained instead of waiting in line for service.

The XFINITY Customer Service Center will be open Mondays thru Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sundays from Noon to 4 p.m. For a map to the future Tacoma Xfinity store, click here. 

Customers have been notified of the move through posters and leaflets at the current location, and other messages. Comcast currently has 14  service centers located throughout Western Washington and Spokane.

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