Using Comcast’s Internet Essentials? It’ll Get Faster

PHILADELPHIA PA – The low-cost Internet Essentials program offered by Comcast Corp., which has been mentioned by the Pottsgrove School District as one of many ways low-income student-family households might obtain Internet services at reduced fees or for free, received speed boosts Tuesday (Feb. 2, 2021), the Philadelphia Business Journal reported.

District families who meet the criteria for and subscribe to Internet Essentials are expected to benefit from the company’s announcement.

The Journal story, written by reporter Michelle Caffrey, said Comcast “is doubling the download speeds for its Internet Essentials low-income broadband program from 25 megabits per second to 50 megabits per second,” and also raising its upload speed from 3 to 5 megabits per second.

Both reflected Comcast’s “unique opportunity to provide (a) meaningful connection to the communities we serve,” its president and CEO said in a statement. “We are dedicated to leveling the playing field and making a lasting impact for generations to come,” he added. Comcast also raised speeds at the start of the pandemic, and said it had a 10-year history of addressing “digital inequities in under-resourced communities.”

Comcast has been pressured by students and legislators in Philadelphia, Baltimore, Detroit, Louisiana, and Colorado, who contended Internet Essentials speeds seemed insufficient for virtual classes and meetings. They raised concerns about dropped signals, and claimed student education was suffering. Comcast earlier maintained its Internet Essentials speeds were “up to par and able to support multiple video calls at once,” Caffrey wrote.

On a district website page for the technology department, Pottsgrove makes clear it “has no affiliation with the (Comcast) program,” and does not promote or recommend it. It is instead merely cited, along with “other options for off-campus connectivity,” as ways student families could overcome difficulties in finding affordable Internet service.

Details about the program and who can qualify for it are available on a Comcast website page, here.

In addition to raising Internet Essentials speeds, the story noted Comcast also said it intended to launch more “community centers where students can use high-speed internet for virtual learning” and “invested $3.5 million in community partners working to advance social justice and equality.”

Photo by Mike Mozart via Flickr and Wikimedia, used under a Creative Commons license