The Arc today announced it will honor long-standing partner Comcast NBCUniversal as the recipient of its 2020 Catalyst Award for their collaborative efforts to provide people with disabilities increased access to technology and more independence. The award recognizes businesses, individuals, and other organizations that have made extraordinary contributions toward greater social inclusion and the advancement of the human and civil rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).
“We are thrilled to award Comcast NBCUniversal with one of The Arc’s greatest honors. The Catalyst Award recognizes Comcast NBCUniversal’s commitment to people with IDD through its efforts in technology, services, and public awareness. In 2020, people with disabilities face unprecedented challenges, amidst a global pandemic. Comcast NBCUniversal continues to step up as an ally and outstanding corporate leader in accessibility, and a champion of inclusion of people with disabilities,” said Peter Berns, CEO of The Arc.
The 2020 Catalyst Award recognizes Comcast NBCUniversal’s expansion of internet access before and during the COVID-19 pandemic, and its advances in accessibility such as voice-activated remote control, X1 eye control, and the company’s dedicated services center for customers with disabilities.
“It’s a fact that people with disabilities are less likely to have access to the internet and the technology necessary to lead more independent lives. It is our belief that everyone should have access to affordable internet, relevant assistive technology and the appropriate digital skills training. We are honored to both partner and be recognized by The Arc for our collective efforts,” said Dalila Wilson-Scott, Executive Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer of Comcast Corporation.
In recent months, as the nation was abruptly shifting into stay-at-home orders and virtual connection became paramount in the pandemic, Comcast NBCUniversal acted quickly to expand the Internet Essentials high speed internet adoption program for low-income households, with 60-day free service offers to new customers and increasing internet speeds for all subscribers. They are working directly with school districts across the country to help connect families to the internet and provide access to devices for virtual learning. The company’s commitment builds upon their largest-ever expansion of Internet Essentials in 2019, when the eligibility was broadened to all qualified low-income households including those with people with disabilities. And their ongoing efforts to innovate and respond to their customers have resulted in tech advances that meet the needs of people with disabilities, and customer support in American Sign Language.
This year, Comcast NBCUniversal has also made important contributions in raising public awareness of the negative impacts the pandemic is having on people with IDD by including meaningful coverage of key issues on TODAY, MSNBC Live with Craig Melvin, and the NBC News digital platform.
The Comcast NBCUniversal Foundation has also provided flexible funding to community partners including The Arc so we could support immediate needs in our chapter network. Throughout our partnership, Comcast NBCUniversal’s continued and generous support of The Arc’s Tech Coaching Centers to expand digital technology opportunities for people with IDD has changed lives and opened doors for people with IDD. The company has a deep and meaningful commitment to advancing digital equity for people with disabilities, and that encompasses support of other disability organizations such as Easterseals and the American Association of People with Disabilities.
Comcast NBCUniversal is the sole recipient of The Catalyst Award this year.