Comcast said it has connected more than 150,000 families thus far through its program to provide Internet access to low-income students and their families.

The MSO has also expanded availability of the program, and has included new features.

The 150,000 households in Comcast’s Internet Essentials program covers approximately 600,000 people.

Comcast said it is expanding eligibility criteria for the program to include parochial, private and homeschool students.  This brings the estimated total number of eligible families to nearly 2.6 million.

The MSO will also soon have available an online application request form to qualify for the program. Applicants will be able to use computers at community centers, local libraries or from a friend to request an application online.

Comcast will also soon introduce what it’s calling Opportunity Cards. Non-profit organizations and others will be able to purchase Internet Essentials service in advance, for up to one year. The transaction will be recorded on the cards, which can then be given to low-income families.

Comcast executive vice president David L. Cohen, said, “Internet Essentials is not just about broadband adoption, however.  It’s also about what the Internet can do for families, from finding a job to completing homework to accessing vital healthcare resources.  While we’re pleased with our progress to date, we have more work to do to bring more families into the digital age.”

Through the 16 months during which Internet Essentials has been available thus far, Comcast said it has:

  • Printed and shipped more than 25 million pieces of collateral material for free.
  • Fielded more than one million phone calls in our dedicated Internet Essentials call center.
  • Distributed more than 15,000 computers at less than $150 each.
  • Trained 10,000 people in-person about digital literacy and how to use the Internet.
  • Received more than 800,000 visitors to the Internet Essentials and Internet Basico websites.
  • Partnered with almost 7,000 community-based organizations; government agencies and federal, state and local elected officials.