Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced on Friday its plans to expand its ConnectHome project. The media company is now introducing 1.3 million additional HUD-assisted households to its Internet Essential program, which allows internet access for a service of $10 a month.

Last year, President Obama launched the ConnectHome project, supported by the federal agency HUD to get more families living in public housing connect to the internet. And Comcast’s program Internet Essentials has been providing low-income homes with the high-speed internet since 2011. The program also offers low-cost computers for less than $150. Recently, Comcast and HUD have announced a partnership to expand their targets.

KC residents get first free Google Fiber under federal ConnectHome program, Feb 2016. Credit: The Kansas City Star

Previously, eligible homes included those maintained by elderly people and those with kids who qualifies for the National School Lunch program. Now, the Internet Essentials program has expanded to public housing and homes that receive assistance from HUD, including homes of adults without children

Comcast launched in March a pilot project for a public housing expansion. With the new homes added to the project, including the HUD programs Public Housing, Housing Choice Vouchers and Multifamily vouchers, a total of two million homes will be favored by the company’s initiative.

The original download speed offered by the Internet Essentials program was off 1.5 megabits per second (Mbps). It then raised to 3 Mbps and kept growing until reaching 10 Mbps, all for $9.95 a month. Comcast says that their high-speed internet plan has connected over 600,00 low-income families, reaching a total of 2.4 million adults and children.

ConnectHome aims to benefit students and their development

Comcast and HUD are focusing on giving access to students to high-speed Internet at home, maximizing their time and their opportunities. The reach of the program has extended to more than 1.5 million children in a year, he added.

According to research, one out of four American households do not have internet access. The most affected homes are the ones with lower-income families with children. Access to the web from home to adults and young individuals could help them apply to college, and train to develop digital literacy skills to enter the competitive workforce, enhancing their opportunities.

“Today’s announcement has the potential to transform the lives of hundreds of thousands of kids across the nation by giving them the tools to reach their full potential,” HUD Secretary Julián Castro said in a press release.

Since the creation of Internet Essentials, Comcast has expanded eligibility for the program about nine times. But the recent expansion is the largest one the program has had, reaching seniors, veterans, and adults without children, David L.Cohen, Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer of Comcast informed, according to Business Wire.

However, HUD has already encountered problems with offering installation of internet equipment in certain public accommodation areas. Castro told NPR that there is a lot of public housing “not Internet-ready. Infrastructure in public housing was built without futuristic vision, but the agency is advocating the construction or rehabilitation of housing buildings that support Internet installations from the beginning.

Source: Business Wire