Internet Essentials Comcast Program: Low-cost Access

A new program is to be offered by Internet and cable provider Comcast called Internet Essentials and is aimed at providing low income families with cheaper Internet access along with computers. This initiative will be a boon to many families struggling to afford Internet services and we have more details of this new program for you.

Families that will qualify for Internet Essentials need to be living in a Comcast Internet service area and have a child currently benefitting from free school lunches with the National School Lunch Program. The Essentials service will begin at the start of the 2011-2012 school year and other requirements are that those families applying must not have subscribed in the last 90 days to Comcast Internet services and also must not have an outstanding Comcast bill or equipment that has not been returned, according to Erica Swallow over on Mashable.

The program will cost $9.95 monthly (plus tax) and Comcast’s blog states that Internet Essentials will “provide low-cost access to the Internet and affordable computers as well as digital literacy training to families with children who are eligible to receive free lunches under the National School Lunch Program.” There will be no price increases, activation fees or equipment rental fees and additionally access available online, in person and also in print, to free Internet training.

The promotion is being offered on both English and Spanish Comcast websites and will give those enrolling the chance to purchase a “netbook-style laptop computer” for only $149.99 plus tax, which will support wired and WiFi Internet connectivity and include the Windows 7 Starter OS along with browser software. An FAQ page has also been set up about the scheme and states that customers will be accepted for Internet Essentials for three full school years and also lists a number 1-855-8-INTERNET (1-855-846-8376) for those who wish to apply.

Those families who have children receiving reduced-price school lunches as opposed to free lunches, will NOT be eligible for the program. For more details check out the FAQ’s at the link above. While this is undoubtedly a great marketing move by Comcast it’s actually a result of the merger with NBC in which one of the conditions for the acquisition was to “increase broadband deployment in low income households.”

What are your thoughts on this Comcast initiative? Do you wish that more large companies would offer discounts for such services to those families with low incomes? Let us know with your comments.