Comcast Launching $9.95 'Internet Essentials' Broadband for Low-Income Families

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News Posted: Sat, Aug 6 2011 6:27 PM
Comcast is launching Internet Essentials, a new initiative offering discounted Internet access and home computers to families that meet low income requirements. The program was mandated as a requirement of Comcast's acquisition of NBC Universal, earlier this year.

In that way, it's very similar to AT&T's Naked DSL program, which AT&T was required to offer as a condition of its merger with BellSouth. Internet Essentials will be available wherever Comcast offers broadband, which means 39 states. To promote the program, Comcast has launched websites in both English and Spanish.

To qualify for Internet Essentials, a family must meet the following requirements:
  • Has at least one child eligible to receive a free school lunch under the NSLP (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);
  • Has not subscribed to Comcast Internet service within the last 90 days;
  • Has children in grades K-12
  • Does not have an overdue Comcast bill or unreturned equipment.
As part of the program, families will receive literacy training and Internet service for $9.95 a month (plus tax). Comcast Executive Vice President David Cohen said, "When we look around the country, we see the disparities that exist. Quite frankly, people in lower-income communities, mostly people of color, have such limited access to broadband than people in wealthier communities."

Families will also receive a voucher which will allow them to purchase a new computer for $149.99 (plus tax).

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 qualify. Qualifying students will receive an application at the start of the upcoming school year.
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Broadband for everyone... I wonder what speed they are offering since it is not listed. Of course the rest of their customers will have to pay for these users.

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What is the download speed?

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poke133 replied on Sun, Aug 7 2011 3:23 AM

i live somewhere in Europe and i pay around $13 for this: http://www.speedtest.net/result/1216256268.png

the wired connection also comes with a bonus USB modem that can be used with a laptop (or with a mobile phone if you use the SIM card inside it), unlimited traffic for both.

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ABanc replied on Sun, Aug 7 2011 4:54 AM

As poke133 said, this is a bad joke from Comcast. Romania Data Systems gives me for the same subscription (about $13 a month) 100Mb symmetric theoretically. Because I have Gigabit equipments I often have something like 130 Mbps down and 150 Mbps up.

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rrplay replied on Sun, Aug 7 2011 5:56 AM

In a way the speed is actually sort of mentioned AT&t naked DSL =768 Kbps download  don't really know for sure what Concast deal is is may be a whopping  FASTER download speeds up to 1.5 Mbps

"how fast is fast?"  ==pretty funny. Thanks Comcast


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Of course, those of us who are too poor to even think about having kids are left in the dust, as usual.

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SmogHog replied on Sun, Aug 7 2011 10:18 PM

Socialism is alive and well.

Government mandated programs contribute to the cost of doing business which makes jobs scarse and the US much less competitive.

Print more money,raise the debt and make high speed internet free for everyone.

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OOtvos replied on Mon, Aug 8 2011 2:57 AM

It's a good idea, and Comcast will get many customers to upgrade, when Comcast gets their toe in the door.

I supply a 450 unit coop with free wireless, using less than $1000 of Meraki repeaters and a $50 6 mbps DSL line (yes, the supplying ISP knows what I'm doing.) I throttle single users to 1.5 mbps, and have over 2500 separate connections each month. I have some monitoring available (amount, not URL) and you might be surprised at how sporadic internet use is in the poorer communities. I think most poor people watch TV. It could be why they're poor...

There's a huge amount of profit in the system, and free universal broadband is quite possible, and morally right.

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BDickey replied on Mon, Aug 8 2011 5:51 AM

Look for the fine print. They way the big company's have been screwing people for years. Now they are going to screw the people that can't afford to get screwed the most.

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notryan replied on Mon, Aug 8 2011 2:01 PM

This comment is moronic.

First of all, this is not socialism - this is a program BY COMCAST and getting them MORE COMCAST CUSTOMERS, who are paying good money. It was a requirement of their merger with NBC Universal, which is already bad enough for customers and the economy. The government is not paying for this, so half of your post is just pointless, stupid rhetoric.

Second of all, socialism in the form of social capitalism is indeed alive and well, and responsible for what are currently the best economies and happiest countries in the world. Internet is increasingly becoming a necessity for life in the modern world and in many places is considered a utility like food and water. The fact that there are still people in the US that not only don't have internet, but don't have computers, is disgraceful. Meanwhile other countries zoom past us in pretty much every metric.

But hey, that's fine as long as we're holding to moral-economic standards of "Reaganomics," right?

wat

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JBecket replied on Mon, Aug 8 2011 6:26 PM

Comcast is a great company, but like many nationwide businesses it can have some weak spots. I was surfing the internet and I found this site where people can vent about poor customer service or products they received... it can get really funny. I would recommend you to check it out here: http://ventme.com/companies/view/103

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rapid1 replied on Tue, Aug 9 2011 10:50 AM

This in a way is a grab for money, but both the internet and computers have become a norm as well as a neccesity now. This will just make it more so. I just wish that our economy as well as our communications core in the US was truly capitalist which it is not any more, nor has it been so for many years. Yes companies can offer services etc freely, but the companies who own the backbone of our country are regulated by the government to the highest bidder now. SO it is actually a farce of the intended economy laid out by the constitution as well as the government in general.

This will gain Comcast significantly more customers, as well as make them look good. I actually went for a job interview yesterday. The company involved it seems is using this as an advertising or in an advertising way. They are talking about how they are bringing back the help and service desks to america. The weird part is they took no information from anyone, they accepted no resumes, they did not even verify any ones identity. All that happened was we sat in a room for a minute, then went into another room and took a virtual customer service test. They then basically told everyone in my group we did not pass said test and dismissed us. I saw no one get hired out if our group on any way.

SO I think that companies in many ways are taking or using the lemons there given to make lemonade. They will get a large percentage of lower income qualified customers. They will then right off a very large amount of equipment, commodities, and services to expand there reach and network in general. Comcast looses nothing here, much like the At&t/T-Mobile merger the government will eventually approve I am almost positive. So the government takes there highest financial contributors, and make them richer, so that they can pay them more to make them richer.

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Alumica replied on Wed, Aug 10 2011 6:13 AM

A circumstance limits our capacity to access a certain goods or services. Just like the recent arguments over net neutrality and United States broadband penetration have created a meme in circles of Congress: Broadband Internet access is a human right. Mashable reports that Comcast is launching Internet Essentials, a low-cost program intended to make broadband available for many of those lost in the digital divide. Related article I read: Comcast offers low-cost Internet Essentials for families . An organization's goal in the selected target market as a way of giving quality, affordable service.

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Thats a really unfair statement to make obviously you must live a very leisurely life to be able to make comments like that. I am grateful they have this offer. I am a single mom who has no support from there father. I am also in school for nursing. I cant believe the ignorance of some people.

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