Comcast is doubling the speed of its Internet Essentials package, its $10-a-month product to connect low-income families to the internet. From March 1st, new and existing users will automatically be able to receive download speeds of up to 50 Mbps, and uploads up to 5 Mbps. The announcement comes as part of the company’s commitment to “closing the digital divide” and addressing both “digital literacy and the homework gap.” This is the second time in recent months that Internet Essentials has seen a speed boost, as Comcast pushed the package to 25/3 Mbps in response to COVID-19 in March 2020.
As part of the push, the company is also pledging to bring free, high-speed WiFi to 1,000 community centers across the country. These “Lift Zones” are designed to let kids access the internet in a safe area, letting them access remote learning and complete their homework when outside of school. The company says that it’ll meet its goal of 1,000 Lift Zones by the end of 2021, significantly ahead of its own schedule.
In addition, Comcast says that it will donate $3.5 million to organizations like CodePath, the YWCA, Genesys Works and Philadelphia Youth Action Center. This is the latest tranche of a $40 million commitment to bankroll education and equity organizations across the US.