The big picture: Comcast is expanding its Internet Essentials program to include Federal Pell Grant recipients. The Pell Grant was established in 1965 as part of the Higher Education Act, and awards money for college to students that "display exceptional financial need" based on calculations in the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Comcast as part of its acquisition of NBCUniversal back in 2011 agreed to make high-speed Internet access available to qualifying low-income families for just $9.95 per month plus tax. As of today, the 50 / 5 Mbps service doesn't require a credit check and isn't hampered by term contracts or cancellation fees.

To date, the Internet Essentials program has connected a cumulative total of more than 10 million people to the Internet, according to Comcast. The company has also supplied low-income Americans with 150,000 free or affordable subsidized computers, we're told.

With the expanded eligibility, all Federal Pell Grant recipients within the company's service area will now have access to the low-cost Internet solution.

Comcast is also donating $15 million in Internet service and hardware through Project Up, a $1 billion initiative to advance digital equity by reaching 50 million people. The money will be used to purchase more than 25,000 laptops for low-income students, adults, seniors and veterans in cities across the country including Houston, TX; Memphis, TN; Atlanta GA; Chicago, IL; and Boston, MA.

Interested parties can apply for Internet Essentials over on Comcast's website.

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