Comcast Expands Internet Essentials to Nearly 5,000 Federal Pell Grants in Whatcom County



Proposed by Comcast

Comcast today announced new measures to help advance digital equity for even more people in Whatcom County. Internet essentials – the country’s largest, most successful and comprehensive broadband adoption program for low-income people – will now expand eligibility to nearly 5,000 federal Pell grant recipients across Whatcom County . These students, enrolled at the following three institutions, are now eligible to take advantage of Internet Essentials, which offers low-cost high-speed Internet service for $ 9.95 per month (plus tax), the option of purchasing a Internet-enabled computer and free access to digital literacy training:

  • Bellingham Technical College
  • Western Washington University
  • Whatcom Community College

Since 2011, the company, together with its network of nonprofit partners, has connected more than 10 million people over the past ten years. Of that number, more than 15,200 are in Whatcom County. Bellingham made up the bulk of that number, with 10,000 people connected through Internet Essentials over the decade.

In addition, Comcast has pledged to donate 500 laptops to students, seniors, veterans, and low-income adults in Washington state over the next few months. The announcement is part of Project UP, Comcast’s global initiative to advance digital equity and help build a future of limitless possibilities; and comes as Comcast scores the 10e
anniversary of its Internet Essentials program, which has connected a cumulative total of over 10 million people to the Internet at home, most for the very first time.

These additional initiatives come as the COVID-19 crisis has demonstrated far-reaching effects that disproportionately impact those who traditionally lacked access to the tools, resources and skills to connect. Completing this reality is research showing that low-income students and their families face many broadband adoption issues, such as housing insecurity, literacy issues, language barriers, and broadband suitability issues. As a result, Comcast’s digital equity efforts were designed to address as many of these challenges as possible, including providing low-cost high-speed internet in the home; the possibility of purchasing an affordable and heavily subsidized computer; access to free Wi-Fi in community centers across the country; and many options for acquiring the digital skills necessary to browse remotely and use the Internet.

“Digital equity is the key to success in education and economic mobility, now and in the future,” said Broderick Johnson, Executive Vice President, Public Policy and Executive Vice President, Digital Equity. “As our economic, medical and educational systems become increasingly digital, it is more important than ever that every American connects to the Internet. For young people pursuing higher education, expanding EI eligibility to Pell scholarship recipients is a real boost. Through the announcements we make today, we will help support the development of a workforce with the digital skills needed to adapt to rapid changes in a rapidly changing economy.

Federal expansion of the Pell grant:

Comcast’s expanded eligibility for Internet Essentials, to now include all federal Pell grant recipients in its service area, will allow even more students to stay connected while continuing their education at colleges, universities and schools techniques. The Federal Pell Grants Program, established in 1965, is the largest source of federal grants for students pursuing post-secondary education.

“One thing we have learned from this pandemic is the need for digital access for all students,” said Maureen Hoyler, chair of the Council for Opportunity in Education. “By expanding eligibility for Pell scholarship recipients, Internet Essentials has taken an important step in helping low-income students achieve their post-secondary goals.

Project UP – Building a future of unlimited possibilities:

For more than a decade, connecting more people to the internet and the technology they need to participate and excel in an increasingly digital world has been at the heart of the business. Looking to the next decade, Comcast is building on that foundation and expanding its impact through Project UP, a global initiative to advance digital equity and help build a future of limitless possibilities. Backed by a $ 1 billion commitment to reach 50 million people, Project UP encompasses community programs and partnerships across Comcast, NBCUniversal and Sky that connect people to the Internet, advance economic mobility, and open doors to next generation of innovators, entrepreneurs, storytellers and creators. For more information on Project UP and the latest news on efforts to tackle digital inequalities, including the recent expansion of Comcast RISE investment fund providing millions in grants to small business owners of color and investment in research to increase diversity in technology and digital, visit

About Internet Essentials

Internet Essentials is Comcast’s signature digital equity initiative and the nation’s largest and most comprehensive broadband adoption program. In 10 years, it has connected 10 million low-income Americans to high-speed home Internet, most for the very first time. It has a comprehensive design that addresses each of the top three barriers to broadband adoption. This includes several options for accessing free digital literacy training on paper, online and in person; the option of purchasing a low cost, heavily subsidized Internet-ready computer; and low-cost high-speed Internet service for $ 9.95 per month plus taxes. The program is structured as a partnership between Comcast and tens of thousands of school districts, libraries, elected officials and nonprofit community partners. For more information on Internet Essentials and Comcast’s commitment to education and digital equity, please visit To apply, visit or dial 1-855-846-8376 for English or 1-855-765-6995 for Spanish.



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