Technology-Headlines

by George Heymann

Comcast set to offer $9.95 per month budget internet service for eligible low income families

by George Heymann

techeadlines@gmail.com

Comcast will be officially launching a budget $10 per month internet service for eligible low-income families in Colorado September 21.

The broadband experiment was designed by Comcast to tackle three primary barriers to broadband adoption as identified by its internal research. The lack of understanding of how the internet is relevant or useful, the cost of a home computer and the cost of internet service.

Comcast’s “Internet Essentials” program successfully addresses all three issues. The program offers residential Internet service for $9.95 per month (plus applicable taxes) with no installation or modem rental fees. It provides a voucher to optionally purchase a low-cost computer for $149.99 plus applicable taxes as well as access to digital literacy training programs.

“The goal of Internet Essentials is to get more students and families connected online and help close the digital divide. We are working closely with school districts and communities across Colorado to share this information” according to Cindy Parsons, Comcast Vice President of Public Relations.

The Internet Essentials Internet service will provide download speeds of up to 1.5Mbps and upload of up to 384Kbps. Although the service provides substantially slower speeds than the full priced service, it’s a great service and provides a substantial benefit to the community. The low-cost service could potentially impact 2-3 million low-income households nationwide according to Comcast estimates.

Families have to meet four criteria in order to qualify for the Internet Essentials program.

  1. Families have to live in one of the 39 states in which Comcast offers service
  2. Have at least one child receiving free school lunches through the National School Lunch Program
  3. Have not subscribed to Comcast Internet service within the last 90 days
  4. Not have an overdue Comcast bill or unreturned equipment

As an example, according to the Department of Agriculture, a household of three would have to make less than $25,000 a year in income to meet the criteria.

As an additional benefit for qualifying families, Comcast provides parental controls as well as the Norton Security Suite a $160 dollar retail value to help protect kids while they’re online at no additional cost.

The new service is part of Comcast’s agreement with regulators to help provide service to poor families in exchange for the approval of the NBC Universal acquisition.

“It’s important to point out that Internet Essentials was on Comcast’s agenda as much as the FCC’s agenda. The program stemmed from an earlier and very similar program we were trying to develop via National Cable Telecommunications Association (NCTA) called “Adoption Plus” (A+). The thought behind that program was to propose a two-year, public-private partnership designed to promote broadband adoption for middle school-aged children in low-income households that did not currently receive broadband service, but it never got off the ground” said Parsons.

If you qualify, and are interested in the service, here is how to apply. Call 1-855-8-INTERNET (1-855-846-8376) to request an application. Comcast will mail you an application which you will need to complete and return along with the lunch program documents from your child’s school. Comcast will contact you with the status of your application usually in 7-10 days. Also, while the official launch is September 21st, the program is available today in Colorado.

If you have web access from work or school you can go to http://www.internetessentials.com/about/ for additional information.

This story featured in the business pages of today’s Pueblo Chieftain.

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2 Responses

  1. […] Comcast set to offer $9.95 per month budget internet service for eligible low income families (technology-headlines.com) […]

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