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    Comcast speeding up its discounted Internet service

    WASHINGTON — Comcast is speeding up its discounted Internet service and will offer it to more people.

    Critics had said Internet Essentials was too slow and limited.

    Comcast created it as a condition of government approval of its 2011 acquisition of NBCUniversal.

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    The country’s largest cable company will double Internet Essentials’ speed to up to 10 megabits per second. That lets you watch online video but is still below the benchmark for broadband, 25 megabits, set by the Federal Communications Commission. About 15,000 Boston households use the service, Comcast said.

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    Comcast is also adding a free Wi-Fi router so smartphones and other devices can connect to a home network.

    Internet Essentials costs $10 a month. It had been limited to families of children who would qualify for the government’s discounted school lunch program. Comcast is now testing expanding to low-income seniors.

    Globe correspondent Jack Newsham updated this report on August 5 with local subscriber numbers.