Comcast has expanded the coverage of Internet Essentials to include Federal Pell Grants in areas where it is available. This provides low-income students with access to an affordable Internet connection at a time when they may need it and in time for Internet Essentials 10th Anniversary. “These additional initiatives come as the COVID-19 crisis has shown widespread implications that disproportionately affect those who traditionally have not had access to the tools, resources and skills required to be online,” wrote the company in its announcement.
The Internet Essentials program started in 2011 and has since expanded its reach several times until, according to its own statements, it “has connected more than 10 million people to the Internet in total”. Earlier this year, the company doubled the speed of the package, giving its subscribers access to download speeds of up to 50 Mbps and uploads of up to 5 Mbps.
In addition to providing access to Internet Essentials to Pell Grant grant recipients, Comcast has committed $ 15 million worth of Internet services and devices. The commitment includes over 25,000 laptops donated to low-income students, seniors, and veterinarians. The move is part of the company’s Project UP, an initiative to “promote digital equity”. The laptops will be distributed in cities across the country, including Houston, TX; Sacramento, California; Seattle, WA; Philadelphia, PA; Hartford, CT; Baltimore, MD; Memphis, TN; Atlanta, GA; Detroit, MI; Chicago, Illinois; Jacksonville, FL; Minneapolis, MN; Oakland, CA; Boston, MA; Pittsburgh, PA; and Grand Rapids, MI.