Comcast’s Web Essentials: $10-a-Month Provider for Low-Income Families

Comcast’s Web Essentials: $10-a-Month Provider for Low-Income Families


  • Comcast Rolls Out ten dollars Web Access for Low-Income FamiliesMashable
  • Free mobile phones for the needy drawing both cheers and jeersPittsburgh Tribune-Review
  • False “Cellular Phones Are Actually a Civil Right” Meme Travels Through Right-Wing MediaMedia Matters
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You may qualify for a new Internet service from Comcast, which costs just $9.95 a month if you live in an area served by Comcast and your kids receive free lunches at school through the National School Lunch Program.

Combined with the needs above, to qualify for the specially reduced solution, dubbed Web Essentials, you have to additionally n’t have subscribed to a Comcast Web hookup during the last ninety days, and also you should never have an overdue comcast bill or nevertheless be hanging onto Comcast equipment that is said to be returned.

An application sent in the mail to sign up for the service, call Comcast (1-855-846-8376) and request. Web basics is going to be available you start with the 2011-2012 college 12 months, it’ll be accessible for signups within the next three college years, also it’s assured to stay coming in at $9.95 every month as long as the customer has a kid receiving lunch that is free college and does not shut or break the regards to the Comcast account. Comcast normally attempting to sell laptop computers to qualified families at a reduced price of $149.95, and it is providing free Web training as well, all an element of the initiative that is new.

How come Comcast being therefore good? The description it is distributing is probably this:

You want to bring the energy regarding the online to more pupils and families around the world.

That’s a fantastic concept. But Comcast additionally really wants to have the okay for its merger with NBC-Universal, as well as the Web Essentials program assists that can cause, as Mashable explains:

While this task appears like a goodwill effort on an element of the giant communications provider, it really is a by-product associated with Comcast-NBC merger, where the ongoing business consented to “increase broadband implementation in low income households” as you of lots of conditions to your purchase.

Not all the “low earnings households” are eligible, however. As numerous commenters have actually reported at sites such as the Consumerist, to qualify for Internet Essentials, you mustn’t simply be bad but additionally have actually young ones. Low-income couples that are childless singles, plus the senior are typical omitted.

But bad residents whom can’t join cheap online sites may be qualified to receive free cellular phones—free moments too.

The other day, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review stated that two organizations, Assurance Wireless and SafeLink Wireless, give free cell phones towards the bad throughout all the country. Just how do these programs work? Well, have actually you ever noticed a curious fee marked “Universal provider Fund” on your own cellular phone bill? The cash collected helps cover the expenses of phone solution in libraries, schools, and several rural areas. In addition will pay for cellular phones and free moments for bad residents who’re qualified to receive programs like Medicaid or food stamps.

The free mobile phone programs are around for a long time, nevertheless the Tribune-Review tale kicked down a firestorm of media coverage—particularly because of the right, decrying the idea that “cell phones are now actually a civil right.”

Brad Tuttle is just a reporter at TIME. Find him on Twitter at @bradrtuttle. You may carry on the conversation on TIME’s Facebook web page as well as on Twitter at @TIME.

Brad Tuttle @bradrtuttle

Brad Tuttle covers business and individual finance for TIME. He lives in Massachusetts together with his spouse and four sons, and additionally shows journalism at UMass-Amherst.