Comcast rolls out $10 web access for low income households

Comcast rolls out $10 web access for low income households

Summary: Comcast is rolling out broadband to low-income families, with kids who receive free school meals, as a result of regulator requirements.

SHARE:

Comcast, the internet and cable giant, is offering just under $10 a month web access and discounted computer vouchers to low-income families.

Dubbed 'Internet Essentials', it will be available in Comcast areas -- currently in 39 states -- and supplied to those who meet certain low-income requirements.

In short: if you child receives free school lunches, then it's likely your family will be eligible to take this offer.

Similar to AT&T's Naked DSL program, following the merger with BellSouth, regulators are more switched on to the needs of developing areas and less economically developed neighbourhoods.

Families could also get vouchers towards a computer costing less than $149. With this, however, it could force many low-income families into purchasing computers second-hand, or not at all, as many computer manufacturers fail to recognise prices to this point.

Subscribers will be given access to free digital literacy training and anti-virus software -- provided at a vastly discounted and subsidised rate.

There will be no rise in fees, activation costs or equipment rental fees for the home infrastructure.

For the 2011/12 academic year, beginning in September, families which make less than $29,055 would qualify, making up around 60 per cent of the 300,000-plus students in a Miami school system.

Provided that families of students, who must be in grades K-12, do not have any outstanding Comcast bills or hoarding equipment, families should be good to go.

Regulators, during the Comcast acquisition of NBC Universal earlier this year, put down requirements to help low-income households get access to the web. Considering Comcast's 51 per cent revenue boost this year to $14.3 billion, there is no doubt that the company can afford the new subsidy.

Households with eligible school children will be signed up for three years until the 2012/14 academic year -- provided households are still eligible.

It is not clear -- perhaps ominously -- what will happen to the service if users fall outside of the eligibility zone.

Related content:

Topics: Banking, Browser, Enterprise Software

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

87 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • RE: Comcast rolls out $10 web access for low income households

    So the working families should expect their rates to go up again, to cover the persons that are low income? Internet access is not a necessity, but a luxury. If I have to pay for it so shouldn?t everyone else. It is like FiOS: recently my parents told me they would not be getting it in their area, because the local politicians wanted free service for life, and Verizon said ?No?.
    Rick_Kl
    • RE: Comcast rolls out $10 web access for low income households

      @Rick_Kl

      Many services that are provided to the poor and unemployed are now being provided via the internet.

      Looking for work on the States WorkForce Site, submitting resumes via email, applying for foodstamps, Veterans Prescriptions, Social Security, etc...

      If anything low cost DSL should be provided to low income families, regardless of the children. Besides, low income families without children still incur the costs of supporting the childrens of other families by way of property and school taxes.

      Just because there are famalies without children, doesn't mean that they do not deserve the same compassion or sympathy as those with children. They are all poor, broke and hungry to some degree.
      databaseben
      • RE: Comcast rolls out $10 web access for low income households

        @databaseben@...
        I disagree. There is an option for low-income families. Get off the couch, turn off the flat-screen, and go to the library. Computers and internet available for use at no charge.
        jred
      • RE: Comcast rolls out $10 web access for low income households

        @databaseben@...
        The unemployed are not often given price breaks. I can speak from personal experience here. I was laid off for a while, and Comcast told me that I did not qualify for reduced price. I could either just keep on paying, or shut off the service. The low income people that are being served by this policy are the ones that have section eight housing, food stamps and are collecting welfare.
        Rick_Kl
      • Exactly

        @jred@... We are already funding computers and Internet access at every one of the 32 libraries in our library district. There is no one within our 6 county area that is more than 15 minutes from a library. I'd say that where I live we already provide this service. I don't see why I should pay even more in the form of higher rates to supply this service direct to people's homes.

        When government mandates that a company provides a service like this, the cost just gets passed on to paying customers. This is nothing more than a back door hidden tax. The regulatory agency has no authority to levy a tax but they have this back door method of accomplishing the same thing.
        cornpie
      • RE: Comcast rolls out $10 web access for low income households

        @databaseben@...
        Well I for one am sick and tired of this 'let's do this for the poor and that for the poor'.
        I once was on the streets, got a job and worked my up the ladder. This $1.95 for phone service and now $10 for Internet, NO WAY. If they cannot afford it, so be it. I am not in the charity business. So tired of this crap and no, I am not a right wing conservative.
        herb643
      • RE: Comcast rolls out $10 web access for low income households

        @databaseben@... It's that kind of attitude that has put the US in the financial crisis (debt) that we are in now. This entitlement mentality is going to destroy this great country, just look at what is currently happening in the UK. If there was no way to access the services that you mentioned without DSL in the home then I might see some reasoning behind it but that is not the case what so ever.
        non-biased
      • Thank you Sir!

        I am so pleased to hear someone finally include People that intentionally chose to not have Children, knowing I would not be able to support nor physically take care of one. I am 52, worked 35 years and was forced to apply for Disability. I pay 750.00 Rent for an Apartment on second Floor and have not been able to go outside since 2009. In June I was told I had Masses in Back and Front Lobal Region of my Brain and so I think my Decision was a wise one. But my lack of having Children has shut Doors to me in all Areas and hey, I deal with it. But this to me sends a Message that it is ok for Women to pop out Babies like Loaves of Bread, not out of Love but they know our System will ensure they will never work an honest Day of their Lives. And it is passed from Generation to Generation.. And it is what really needs to stop. It is real simple, a Woman left by Spouse with Children, please give her all the Help she needs, but single Woman has Child, the first Time again help her out, but if she decides to get pregnant again, which there is no Excuse with all the Preventions in Place, cut her off. And I bet you she won't do it again, if she has to pay for it.
        These Programs are good for the Families that are hard working People and the Times have taken Jobs and they want to work, but just can't find it. And that is what the Qualification should be based on. Not on Income, of course all on Welfare with tons of Kids will automatically qualify and I bet this Program will like all others end up so abused and the Ones that deserve it will end up paying for it. And of course the Tax Payers will foot the Bill.
        I am proud of my Choices and I just wish that the American People wake up and demand our System changes it's Standards of Qualification. It is Time for People to proof they have done the Right Things in Life and now they deserve a Helping Hand, and not reward someone that has never held a Job in their Live, but seem to have no Problems opening their Legs to produce what we all know is one of the most expensive Choices and that is to bring a Child into this World and then ask for others to pay for at least 18 years. And trust me those Children will never have a normal Chance in Life and so the Cycle goes on.
        Sorry, hope I didn't put everyone to sleep. Smiles.
        uziflee@...
    • RE: Comcast rolls out $10 web access for low income households

      @Rick_Kl "my parents told me they would not be getting it in their area, because the local politicians wanted free service for life"

      Are your parents Ron Paul and his wife? Do you really believe that story?
      jgm@...
      • RE: Comcast rolls out $10 web access for low income households

        @jgm@... [i]Big Ron Paul fan? [/i]
        Let me guess, big Obama fan? That would explain a lot because your ideas just like his are what are destroying this country.
        non-biased
    • Here's a "good" idea (good depending upon your ideology)...

      All utility companies list their service costs plus other fees and taxes.

      Since Comcast is a utility, why not have legislation which makes a corporation also list the cost of providing "free", but mandated, service to the "less advantaged". So, if the cost for Comcast to provide free service to those in its service area comes to, say $1.50 per the paying household, then those in the paying households have a right to see where their money is being spent and who they're supporting.

      There is no such thing as "free", because, somebody, somewhere is "paying" for someone else's "free" product or service. People need to have a good accounting of how their money is being used and why they're having to pay for someone else's "free" lifestyle.
      adornoe
      • RE: Comcast rolls out $10 web access for low income households

        @adornoe@... You'd think people were giving out jacuzzis. Just tell me this: do you think Comcast should be granted a monopoly for no price whatsoever and with no obligation to the citizens who will now be monopolized by them?
        jgm@...
      • jgm: Do a little more thinking...

        Nothing is free, and nothing should be free.

        Nobody should expect that others will pick up the tab for anything they want in life.

        The ISP monopoly thing is besides the point, and I'm not in favor of it to begin with. But, monopoly or not, government sanctioned or not, does not excuse having other people pay for services that people get for "free".

        What gives any utility or any company the right to take from me or my neighbor to give to others without permission?

        If I went to my water company and asked them for permission to tap into my neighbors water supply, and not have to pay for it, do you think that my neighbor would be pleased, and happy to provide for me?

        Taking from others without their permission, is not the answer to anything. And by bringing up "jacuzzis", you demonstrate of complete lack of understanding of the issue.
        adornoe
      • RE: Comcast rolls out $10 web access for low income households

        @adornoe@... "Nothing is free, and nothing should be free."

        The sun is free, love is free (except in parts of Nevada), and why shouldn't anything be free? When nanorobots assemble anything we want from waste products in the far future, that'll be a bad thing? Sounds like paradise to me.

        "Nobody should expect that others will pick up the tab for anything they want in life."

        Only in selfish minds is that scenario in existence. You imagine there's all these lazy people sitting around demanding you give them things. Sorry, doesn't exist. Read a book by Barbara Ehrenreich. She decided to live for a year of unskilled, minimum wage labor. She even had her first month's rent free. Well, despite that, she ended up working three jobs and still came close to ending up in a shelter. She wrote about the horrible exploitation people go through, especially undocumented labor, the constant stress of being one paycheck away from disaster, etc.

        You're creating all of these fables for yourself because you don't want to believe that bad things can happen. You want to believe (like Oprah and The Secret) that bad things only happen to people who deserve them. That way you can tell yourself you don't deserve them, so they won't happen to you. Heck, I know a man who used to be a millionaire who now sorts mail for a living. Bad things can and do happen through no fault of one's own.


        "The ISP monopoly thing is besides the point, and I'm not in favor of it to begin with. But, monopoly or not, government sanctioned or not, does not excuse having other people pay for services that people get for "free". "

        What other people? You're not paying for it. Comcast is paying for it as the price for the monopoly. Are you that obsessed with people coming to take what's yours? Can you really say "no" to a child (everyone refuses to address this is only for families with children) living in poverty and tell them, no, they can't have the same educational opportunities as everyone else?

        "What gives any utility or any company the right to take from me or my neighbor to give to others without permission? "

        I can't help thinking of dogs who display aggression when they think someone is going to take away their food at this point. NO ONE IS COMING TO TAKE ANYTHING AWAY FROM YOU. COMCAST IS NOT GOING TO COME INTO YOUR HOME AND EMPTY YOUR WALLET. Comcast is going to give a service to a small handful of people in a certain area you probably don't live in a discount. Period.

        You seem obsessed with idea that someone else isn't going to pay the same price you did. Then feel free to lose your job, your car, etc. and get that precious discounted Internet; I doubt you'll feel better. It's like your personal esteem is injured; you sound slighted that your neighbor might get any help when they're in a bad way.

        "If I went to my water company and asked them for permission to tap into my neighbors water supply, and not have to pay for it, do you think that my neighbor would be pleased, and happy to provide for me?"

        You're talking nonsensical and sounding paranoid. NO ONE IS TAKING ANYTHING FROM YOU.

        "Taking from others without their permission, is not the answer to anything."

        Tell me: who is taking what from you? I used to live right near a restaurant/club that wanted a liquor license renewed. After conferring with We the People who lived near the restaurant, the city offered to renew the license but only if they send employees around within a several-block radius on saturday, sunday and monday morning to clean up garbage, particularly beer cans and bottles that always ended up on our lawns. Question: was anyone stealing from you in this situation?

        I used to co-own a small business for eight years. If we gave a discount to someone who was unemployed, were we stealing from you? If so, what were we stealing and how did we steal it?

        If your answers to these questions are "no", you'll understand why I'm completely baffled by your obsession that these poor children are stealing from you.



        " And by bringing up "jacuzzis", you demonstrate of complete lack of understanding of the issue."

        You think poor kids are stealing from you... I'm not the one with a lack of understanding. I bet you think paying any taxes is the government "stealing" from you too, right? Big Ron Paul fan?
        jgm@...
        • WoW

          Wow! JGM just basically killed all the other arguments...wow! Quiet time now.
          teryonp@...
      • jgm: Oh, give me a break! Your arguments are nothing but excuses,

        and I've seen and heard them all.

        I've seen the deadbeats and the lazy and the dependent society first hand. I've lived with them, and I know them first hand.

        I've seen people not wanting to go to work because they can get more by not working. The welfare society is real and, though there might be people who do actually need help to keep them going, or to get them back on their feet, I've seen too many of them actually not want to work when they were quite capable of doing so.

        Studies and books don't get into the lives of people who are poor, like I have. I've been poor, and I know what it feels like to not have enough to afford food or shoes or clothing or telephone or entertainment or most other things that people nowadays get for "free" from government. I lived the "poor" lifestyle, and my mother was too proud to apply for food stamps or welfare or housing assistance. But, there are too many who don't have the same scruples as my mother, and they'd rather go through life dependent upon government "free" services.

        Face it! It's real, no matter what certain biased studies would like to tell you. Those studies and books are written by people with an agenda of big government taking control over people's lives. Once they get people to become dependent upon government, the big government advocates will have those people "locked in" to that lifestyle, and with that accomplished, those people will have to vote for the politicians who can continue giving them those freebies.

        So, no excuses. There are too many people, who don't contribute to the tax rolls, and that's about 50% of them, and those people use more government services than the people who do pay the taxes that government uses.

        We are in deep trouble with the economy and with government debt because, far too many people have become dependent upon government handouts. That is what has created the problems we have now.
        adornoe
      • RE: Comcast rolls out $10 web access for low income households

        @adornoe@... I could not agree more with what you said. Took the words from out of my mouth.
        goldfngrnc
    • RE: Comcast rolls out $10 web access for low income households

      @Rick_Kl While I agree with you this isn't as bad as the free cell phone service I see advertised from time to time. Our tax dollars providing a free cell phone and monthly service and not only that we are also paying to advertise this give away. One of the ads shows a woman using her free cell phone to call somebody when her car breaks down. If you can afford a car and the gas to drive it you can sure as h@!! pay for your own cell phone.
      non-biased
    • RE: Comcast rolls out $10 web access for low income households

      @Rick_Kl You are a frakking moron. Taking your logic to it's ultimate end, apparently, you wouldn't mind seeing kids/familiy's living in the streets either. What a sick frak you are.
      Tokamak123
      • RE: Comcast rolls out $10 web access for low income households

        @Tokamak123 It's called "social darwinism". They believe that their wealth is derived from being "moral" and "virtuous", so anyone poorer is immoral and deserves their situation.
        jgm@...