The Comcast Internet Essentials broadband adoption program is expanding eligibility to Federal Pell Grant recipients and donating $15 million in equipment – including about 25,000 laptops– and services to low-income students, seniors, veterans and other adults.
The announcements are related to Project UP, Comcast’s initiative to drive connectivity. They coincide with the tenth anniversary of the Internet Essentials program. Comcast says that it has helped more than 10 million people connect to the Internet from their homes. The job is far from done, however: The service provider adds that the COVID-19 pandemic tends to have greater impact on those who traditionally lack broadband and related assets.
Comcast says that it now will extend eligibility to Internet Essentials to all federal Pell Grant recipients within its service area. The program, which was established in 1965, is the largest federal aid program for students pursuing post-secondary education, accord to Comcast.
“Digital equity is key to success in education and economic mobility, now and into the future,” Broderick Johnson, Executive Vice President, Public Policy and Executive Vice President Digital Equity, said in a press release. “As our economic, medical, and educational systems become increasingly digital, it’s more important than ever that every American gets online. For those young people pursuing higher education, the expansion of IE eligibility to Pell Grant recipients is a real boost.”
Cities that will get the equipment and services include Houston, TX; Sacramento, CA; Seattle, WA; Philadelphia, PA; Hartford, CT; Baltimore, MD; Memphis, TN; Atlanta, GA; Detroit, MI; Chicago, IL; Jacksonville, FL; Minneapolis, MN; Oakland, CA; Boston, MA; Pittsburgh, PA and Grand Rapids, MI.
In March, Comcast said that it would commit $1 billion over ten years to reduce the digital divide and provide low-income Americans with greater access to broadband. The company said that it believed that the new commitments would impact as many as 50 million Americans over the next decades.