By Ian Bush

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Comcast has reached a milestone in its hometown with its reduced-cost Internet service.

The company now is expanding the program to thousands more people in the city.

“Approximately 5,000 housing authority families served by Comcast in Philadelphia,” says Comcast’s Bob Smith.

They’re now eligible for the $10/month Internet Essentials. Smith calls the high-speed connection a necessity for education and for exploring job opportunities:

“The digital divide creates a terrible disadvantage for families and children who do not have Internet, especially when compared to their more affluent neighbors who do.”

Wilco, the cable company that serves the majority of PHA units, has offered a similar program for several years. Both companies are working with the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, through its ConnectHome initiative.

Comcast says 100,000 people in Philadelphia now are plugged in (or on wifi) through Internet Essentials. That’s 24,000 families, up from about 15,000 last year.

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