Comcast offers $10 Internet for low-income families

By on August 8, 2011, 1:39 PM

A new program from cable, telephone, and Internet provider Comcast will provide discounted web access, a low-cost computer, and free Internet training for qualifying low-income families in the US. The service is called Internet Essentials and is expected to help bridge the divide that poor families face regarding technology.

The program comes as a result of Comcast’s acquisition of NBC Universal earlier this year. As part of that deal, the FCC required that Comcast make broadband subscriptions available to 400,000 poor households for less than $10 per month.

Families interested in the $9.95 broadband service and $149.99 computer must meet a few criteria.

First, you must be living in one of the 39 states that Comcast currently serves. Furthermore, said family must have at least one child enrolled in a free lunch program through the National School Lunch Program. You must not have subscribed to Comcast Internet service within the last 90 days and finally you can’t have any overdue Comcast bills or unreturned equipment.

The broadband service is rated at up to 1.5Mbps down and 384Kbps up.

Hardware specifications on the sub-$150 computer are bleak but Comcast claims it will be a netbook-style laptop that supports wired and wireless Internet connectivity. Each system includes a copy of Windows 7 Starter edition and can be loaded with Norton Security Suite and parental controls for free.

Internet Essentials will be available starting in the 2011-2012 school year and will run for three full school years. Those who sign up will not see a price increase during this period, nor will they have to pay activation or installation charges or equipment rentals. Potential customers can sign up today by calling 1-855-8-INTERNET.




User Comments: 40

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gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

This seems familiar.

Guest said:

*checks watch*

Cranky should be here soon.

jetkami said:

This is horrible. Handicapping the poor is not helping them. the kid decide to go into graphic arts..."sorry sweetheart our computer is not fast enough". No I am not supporting giving them gaming machines, but something that can do more then surf facebook and send emails. We want to expose the family to more technology, maybe dad will get on the computer like the experience and decide to go back to school. In fours years we have a new gainfully employed taxpayer. Invest in our poor and not the foreign ownd banks.

MilwaukeeMike said:

Yeah, hopefully everyone this time won't argue about govt handouts... as fun as that was to read.

So this is a requirement of the merger with NBC universal... bummer, and I wanted to give comcast credit for something cool.

Still, looks like a good idea.

willard27 said:

Maybe they can get rid of their expensive cell phone plan to afford what they think are necessities.

TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Didn't we just go through this?

Guest said:

And sell their 60" flat screens instead of their food stamps. And build their own kitchens from the scrap left over from the last riot or..........

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

milwaukeemike said:

Yeah, hopefully everyone this time won't argue about govt handouts... as fun as that was to read.

Considering the pittance in taxes the corporations pay anyway, who knows how this particular program will be spun by Comcast's tax attorneys? We still may end up paying for this program on the back end.

Corporations never agree to anything altruistic unless there is a benefit to it. So they're either figuring that they'll get tax breaks, or that their research has indicated that most of these families will be getting cable in addition to their cheap $10 internet, so they figure as long as the family is paying $50 a month for cable, throwing them this bone is nothing.

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Guest said:

And sell their 60" flat screens instead of their food stamps. And build their own kitchens from the scrap left over from the last riot or..........

Still here, huh?

I figured you'd be in the kitchen crushing up Sudafed for the next batch.

Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Guest said:

*checks watch*

Cranky should be here soon.

Thats some funny Sh*t...

But the more worrying side of this post is you were the second person to comment at all...

Guest said:

If your child receives free school lunch and you drive a 2011 Cadillac Escalade, you may qualify.

H3llion H3llion, TechSpot Paladin, said:

gwailo247 said:

Guest said:

And sell their 60" flat screens instead of their food stamps. And build their own kitchens from the scrap left over from the last riot or..........

Still here, huh?

I figured you'd be in the kitchen crushing up Sudafed for the next batch.

You do realise every "Guest" is a different person and not the same one posting on all the news reports? Guest is a guest "account" which anyone can use without login in.

matrix86 matrix86 said:

jetkami said:

This is horrible. Handicapping the poor is not helping them. the kid decide to go into graphic arts..."sorry sweetheart our computer is not fast enough". No I am not supporting giving them gaming machines, but something that can do more then surf facebook and send emails. We want to expose the family to more technology, maybe dad will get on the computer like the experience and decide to go back to school. In fours years we have a new gainfully employed taxpayer. Invest in our poor and not the foreign ownd banks.

I think this is fair. Do you know how many kids don't have a computer? This is MUCH better than nothing. There is nothing wrong with a netbook style machine. Most of my artsy friends grew up with ancient machines (we lived in a farming community where dial-up was the only option), and now they all own machines that cost an arm and a leg and are doing very well for themselves. This is not handicapping them. If backwoods, South Georgia, mud bogging, animal raising, horse riding, farming kids with p.o.s. machines and dial-up internet can make a name for themselves, i'm sure these kids will manage as well :P At least they're getting a chance to expand their horizons.

tonylukac said:

I don't think this is any big deal to get worked up about. My dsl (price/speed) is comperable and I don't look like I'm getting any handouts, if that is the sin. Why not just say "by gosh, by golly they've finally got the internet down to a price that's closer to cost."

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

artix said:

You do realise every "Guest" is a different person and not the same one posting on all the news reports? Guest is a guest "account" which anyone can use without login in.

And you do realize that sometimes the same person posts more than once as a "Guest" on a given topic?

Guest said:

No kidding, Comcast offer $10 what's the speed maybe 1bps? and make sure is wireless with hot spot like ATT offered (homeless). I know Comcast is really good in " Customer Service" and Comcast guaranteed Customer Service but how many Comcast users(Original customer) are totally satisfy with their service and package of the price. Comcast don't take care and service old customers with special package price, in opposite they benefit new customers with excellent package price.

What's the point to have business like Comcast "Forgot old and loyalty customers" this is sad. Please don't show and remove any of logo " Customer Service Guaranteed" because this is bad example of teach our next generation of loyalty which means worthless. I think marketing people should do some survey of old customer satisfactions to make Comcast growing up.

aj_the_kidd said:

Guest said:

No kidding, Comcast offer $10 what's the speed maybe 1bps? and make sure is wireless with hot spot like ATT offered (homeless). I know Comcast is really good in " Customer Service" and Comcast guaranteed Customer Service but how many Comcast users(Original customer) are totally satisfy with their service and package of the price. Comcast don't take care and service old customers with special package price, in opposite they benefit new customers with excellent package price.

What's the point to have business like Comcast "Forgot old and loyalty customers" this is sad. Please don't show and remove any of logo " Customer Service Guaranteed" because this is bad example of teach our next generation of loyalty which means worthless. I think marketing people should do some survey of old customer satisfactions to make Comcast growing up.

FYI

"The broadband service is rated at up to 1.5Mbps down and 384Kbps up" as stated in the article

This "excellent package price" is part of the the NBC deal, they had to do it:

"the FCC required that Comcast make broadband subscriptions available to 400,000 poor households for less than $10 per month"

I imagine that since you're a original customer you've had the opportunity to change service, so why haven't you? Clearly you are unhappy with the service. If for some reason Comcast is your only option, either send in a complaint or suck it up. And no i don't work for Comcast

Guest said:

cool and australia is still over priced and still in the stone age for net

Guest said:

Comcast will collect the birth dates of all your boys and turn this information over to Selective Service.

Guest said:

You do realize we are all subsidizing this by our universal access fee(tax) on our bills.

MilwaukeeMike said:

gwailo247 said:

Considering the pittance in taxes the corporations pay anyway, who knows how this particular program will be spun by Comcast's tax attorneys? We still may end up paying for this program on the back end.

Corporations never agree to anything altruistic unless there is a benefit to it. So they're either figuring that they'll get tax breaks, or that their research has indicated that most of these families will be getting cable in addition to their cheap $10 internet, so they figure as long as the family is paying $50 a month for cable, throwing them this bone is nothing.

Comcast isn't doing it for tax breaks or to lure in customers. They're doing it because the govt is making them.

'Pittance' is your opinion, they pay millions, that's not a pittance to me, maybe compared to profit's like Apple's it is, but it's not a small amount.

I love the irony of the clash between govt handout programs and making corporations pay more tax. Corps pay as much tax as the govt makes them pay, just like people recieving handouts will take as much as they're allowed to take. Corps and poor people follow the exact same line of thinking....1) What's the rule, 2) How closely do I have to follow it, 3) Will I get caught, 4) Do I have a reasonable arguement to defend myself if I am caught.

We all follow the same human nature.

lawfer, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Guest said:

You do realize we are all subsidizing this by our universal access fee(tax) on our bills.

Wow, we even have the Tea Party up in here?

Anyway, I think this is a good program. And to those skeptical:

I love the irony of the clash between govt handout programs and making corporations pay more tax. Corps pay as much tax as the govt makes them pay, just like people recieving handouts will take as much as they're allowed to take. Corps and poor people follow the exact same line of thinking....1) What's the rule, 2) How closely do I have to follow it, 3) Will I get caught, 4) Do I have a reasonable arguement to defend myself if I am caught.

Pretty much this.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

*checks watch*

Cranky should be here soon.

Don't be sad, fret, or pout, little man, it's going to be all right, Cranky's here for you! I'm always here for you.

With that out of the way, I only have 1 Meg DSL from Verizon. I pay about $18.00 a month. Arguably I should be just a bit poorer, then I'd have faster and cheaper service.

But, when the dust settles, the people who qualify for Comcast's "largesse", will have faster service than me.

Comcast spends vast piles of money on advertising. One year I saved all the print ads, and had a pile of recycling almost an inch thick! Then there's the nightly "Xfinity" TV onslaught. Because ads are an expense, Comcast can likely write off the entire expense of changing the name of virtually the same product, to "Xfinity"! Loopholes, loopholes.

Because simple repetition is one of the oldest, most prevalent, and effective forms of propaganda, I suspect that Comcast will capitalize on this forced offering of generosity, with an endless ad campaign that makes them look like the "Robin Hood" of cable companies. But trust me, they'll still be robbing the rich.

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Originally Posted by Guest

*checks watch*

Cranky should be here soon.

I think they fear your TM skills captain

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Don't be sad, fret, or pout, little man, it's going to be all right, Cranky's here for you! I'm always here for you.

We need to set up a bat-signal featuring the silhouette of your avatar.

Flannelwarrior said:

So much ridiculousness in these comments.

If you want a better, stronger America, then you should be freaking excited about this program. Why? Because we have more jobs requiring a high level of education than we can fill. Why? Because we have horrible class divides and it's very difficult to get out of poverty. Why? Because of people with the Tea Party mentality who think that anyone who earns less than they do, is lesser, lazy, stupid, and unworthy of compassion or help.

We need to strengthen our workforce with skilled, educated employees.

If you don't see how this connects to the article, do some more research.

Guest said:

first of all i bet most of this families who cannot afford internet have cable...what the hell...cancel your cable and get the internet your kids need.

1 person liked this | captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

So much ridiculousness in these comments.

If you want a better, stronger America, then you should be freaking excited about this program. Why? Because we have more jobs requiring a high level of education than we can fill. Why? Because we have horrible class divides and it's very difficult to get out of poverty. Why? Because of people with the Tea Party mentality who think that anyone who earns less than they do, is lesser, lazy, stupid, and unworthy of compassion or help.

We need to strengthen our workforce with skilled, educated employees.

If you don't see how this connects to the article, do some more research.

You should live with some of these people, then we wouldn't have comments like this

So much ridiculousness in these comments.

The cell phone has made controlling street drug sales so much more difficult for the police to deal with. It doesn't take much to imagine that virtually free internet will compound the issue.

The trouble with suburban liberals is they are so out of touch with reality, they exist in a tea party world, while being possessed by the spirit of Ted Kennedy. Or in language closer to the street you pretend to have knowledge of, you need to yank your head out of your a** bro....

Guest said:

"It doesn't take much to imagine that virtually free internet will compound the issue."

Pure doggerel. Costs for DSL available now to everyone for 1.5/384 has been found as low as $14.95, and with Comcast's broad bandwidth combined with sandvine, I'm pretty sure they are close to breakeven, if not slight profit for each line. And they can make additional profit via on demand movies, should they offer it.

@"Flannelwarrior"

I agree with many of your points. It's obvious certain people see the world as black or white only, there are no shades of grey at all. Their cynical view is always correct, and they are never wrong.

Of course they are only good at pointing the blame, and not working hard enough to find common ground or finding real meaningful solutions. It's only cut!cut!cut!. Never mind there are real, legit poor working class families, many not by choice; Thru loss of job, loss of spouse (main provider), or simply a family member whose medical expenses or bad investments have brought financial ruin. Nope, according to them, poor people are all subhuman crackheads, not fit to even enjoy LCD tv's, which BTW are much more affordable than ever before.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

. Nope, according to them, poor people are all subhuman crackheads, not fit to even enjoy LCD tv's, which BTW are much more affordable than ever before.

Here again, I suggest you come to my "hood", before you start running your mouth.

Never mind there are real, legit poor working class families, many not by choice; Thru loss of job, loss of spouse (main provider), or simply a family member whose medical expenses or bad investments have brought financial ruin.

I'm aware of "poor working families", and I sympathize with them deeply. In this economy, the lower middle classes are being demoted to poor, people are losing their homes, and on. These are people that have actually had jobs, and I surely don't envy their predicament. You again are applying middle class sensibilities to people that are not worthy of that consideration.

As far as "bad investments", 22" chrome rims are always bad investments. And those are the only "investments" being made that I've seen or heard about recently.

As far as "loss of spouse" in the examples I'm being presented with, there never was any, "spouse", to lose. Just some girl talking to friends about someone known as, "he be the father of my baby".

And as someone who gets Emails from Newegg, goes into Walmart, and belongs to a tech website, I don't need some pedantic clown telling me how much LCD TVs cost.

Guest said:

Affordable internet will enable easier access to online job hunting/online learning sites. Of course certain people simply want to prolong the existing state of condition, instead of applauding efforts to improve it.

"As far as "bad investments", 22" chrome rims are always bad investments"

I expected a languid response from such an obstinate point of view. It's called a hobby. Or is purchasing legal goods not a guaranteed right by our constitution? Who are you to judge & jury determine what is, or isn't a bad investment? If your hobby is playing computer games butt naked, is it a bad investment to buy a new cpu or memory? If your hobby is with cars, is it a bad investment to buy new tires or rims? Or does it only count when YOU think it counts?

Shame, the unadorned thought of "less government, more freedom" applies only to you but not anyone else, or other classes.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Affordable internet will enable easier access to online job hunting/online learning sites. Of course certain people simply want to prolong the existing state of condition, instead of applauding efforts to improve it.

"As far as "bad investments", 22" chrome rims are always bad investments"

I expected a languid response from such an obstinate point of view. It's called a hobby. Or is purchasing legal goods not a guaranteed right by our constitution? Who are you to judge & jury determine what is, or isn't a bad investment? If your hobby is playing computer games butt naked, is it a bad investment to buy a new cpu or memory? If your hobby is with cars, is it a bad investment to buy new tires or rims? Or does it only count when YOU think it counts?

Shame, the unadorned thought of "less government, more freedom" applies only to you but not anyone else, or other classes.

Are you complaining more about my point of view(*), or the resale value of chrome rims? A $500.00 car, with 2 12" subwoofers, loud mufflers and a set of rims, if that's what it takes someone to delude themselves that they're worth something, by all means, knock yourself out. I'd consider it a personal favor if you wouldn't drive by my house with it. Of course, opposite opinions being what they are, I suppose I wouldn't be "entitled" to that level of courtesy, now would I?

((*) Which is actually observed fact).

Guest said:

this is a wonderful deal for low income families that rely on internet usage.

Guest said:

Just an update on this program. Comcast has upped the speeds to 3mb dl and 756k ul.

Does that make you even more cranky? Grrrrrrrr! F-ing poor people get all the good deals! Free food, free health care, free money...

Lowest priced internet in my area from comcast 62.50 a month, $50 for basic cable. now THAT is something to be mad about. I don't care what people in need get, if they need it then those of us more fortunate have an obligation to help any way we can. But being constantly squeezed by those in a better position than I when they to have an equal obligation to help, well that is just wrong and completely unnecessary. Greedy pigs, just a bunch of greedy dirty pigs. We could use a little anarchy, lol as if there were such a thing...

Feeling bad or angry about people getting more than you is juvenile. Like a kid crying about his sister getting a bigger piece of cake than his. Being grateful for what you do have, that is the lesson I would try to pass along. Someday one of you angry birds may need a free worm and there is no shame in that. The shame is when there are no more free worms to be had so we are forced to eat dirt and die slowly, painfully.

Guest said:

Just an update on this program. Comcast has upped the speeds to 3mb dl and 756k ul.

Does that make you even more cranky? Grrrrrrrr! F-ing poor people get all the good deals! Free food, free health care, free money...

Lowest priced internet in my area from comcast 62.50 a month, $50 for basic cable. now THAT is something to be mad about. I don't care what people in need get, if they need it then those of us more fortunate have an obligation to help any way we can. But being constantly squeezed by those in a better position than I when they to have an equal obligation to help, well that is just wrong and completely unnecessary. Greedy pigs, just a bunch of greedy dirty pigs. We could use a little anarchy, lol as if there were such a thing...

Feeling bad or angry about people getting more than you is juvenile. Like a kid crying about his sister getting a bigger piece of cake than his. Being grateful for what you do have, that is the lesson I would try to pass along. Someday one of you angry birds may need a free worm and there is no shame in that. The shame is when there are no more free worms to be had so we are forced to eat dirt and die slowly, painfully.

Guest said:

Oops, apologies for the double post. It didn't seem to post the first time and there does not seem to be a way to remove it now. Lucky it is an old thread, like so much on the internet these days, old news lingers for an eternity on the web. It was so much better back when AL Gore first invented it.

davislane1 davislane1 said:

I expected a languid response from such an obstinate point of view. It's called a hobby. Or is purchasing legal goods not a guaranteed right by our constitution? Who are you to judge & jury determine what is, or isn't a bad investment? If your hobby is playing computer games butt naked, is it a bad investment to buy a new cpu or memory? If your hobby is with cars, is it a bad investment to buy new tires or rims? Or does it only count when YOU think it counts?

I've never seen a point fly so far over someone's head before. I really hope you're just some random know-it-all teenager, otherwise I'm afraid one of our illustrious colleges or universities ripped you off for 20-80 grand. In which case, good luck paying off all of that student loan debt. You're going to need it if you don't know the difference between an investment and a ******* hobby.

As for this program being a great thing for building a stronger America...Fat chance. This is PR for Comcast. A few people will identify and take advantage of the opportunity this presents, but the marginal poor person will ultimately do neither. The problem with the U.S. education system (other than the ****** it produces) is that it's based on an old model that is helplessly inadequate for today's world. Giving people more access to the internet (and consequently "education" and "training" is great, but will accomplish nothing by means of preparing them for a globalized system. It will also do nothing to solve or prevent the social and economic problems that will crush the lower and middle classes over the next decade or so.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

I expected a languid response from such an obstinate point of view. It's called a hobby. Or is purchasing legal goods not a guaranteed right by our constitution?
No, it isn't. The "right to purchase crap you can't afford unless you've sold drugs to pay for them", is not in any part of the body of the U.S. Constitution, its Bill of Rights, or any subsequent Amendment to to U.S. Constitution.

The only thing even remotely related to such a "right", is the fact we've outlawed "debtor's prison".

I don't care who told you otherwise, the NAACP, Occupy Wall Street, any other ridiculous cause, person, or voice in your head told you, "the right to buy stuff", isn't in the Constitution. You have the right to hold real estate. There's nothing new there though. In fact, that right was carried forward from the "Magna Carta", which was signed in Runnymede, England, June 15, 1215 AD, by "Richard the Lion Hearted's" younger, not too swift brother, "John Lackland".

Feeling bad or angry about people getting more than you is juvenile. Like a kid crying about his sister getting a bigger piece of cake than his. Being grateful for what you do have, that is the lesson I would try to pass along. Someday one of you angry birds may need a free worm and there is no shame in that. The shame is when there are no more free worms to be had so we are forced to eat dirt and die slowly, painfully.
This is painfully naive, to the point of being symptomatic of a developmental disorder.

Unless you yourself are siphoning money out of the system in return for "feeling sorry for the less fortunate", (IE, being a social worker), you might be the one who ultimately has "dirt for dinner..., again", because the fed is printing big ole checks to the people whose cause you're championing.

What amazes me in all these late night TV ads to "sponsor a child", is where the parents, who are ostensibly not able to provide for them, get the food, resources, and energy to propagate them in the first place.

Wouldn't you just like to be a bug on their hovel's bedroom wall? The "pillow talk" probably goes something like this; "Well, we don't have food, electricity, or decent clothing, plus you have malaria, and I've been diagnosed HIV positive, I think it's high time we have another baby, don't you"?

Guest said:

"This is painfully naive, to the point of being symptomatic of a developmental disorder"

I wouldn't expect someone with such a closed mind and heart to understand the seemingly twisted concepts of generosity and compassion. Nor have I ever heard of naivety being symptomatic of a developmental disorder, but then again the source of that comment is steeped in anger and resentment. So, if someone cares for their fellow human being and feels that everyone on this planet is obligated to help each other whenever able is naive, what does that make someone who is terrified and angry about all those naive folks acting on behalf of those less fortunate and feels utterly threatened by those being assisted? Talk about symptoms of a disorder. Take a look in the mirror friend, if you can tolerate it.

Peace

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

"This is painfully naive, to the point of being symptomatic of a developmental disorder"

I wouldn't expect someone with such a closed mind and heart to understand the seemingly twisted concepts of generosity and compassion. Nor have I ever heard of naivety being symptomatic of a developmental disorder, but then again the source of that comment is steeped in anger and resentment. So, if someone cares for their fellow human being and feels that everyone on this planet is obligated to help each other whenever able is naive, what does that make someone who is terrified and angry about all those naive folks acting on behalf of those less fortunate and feels utterly threatened by those being assisted? Talk about symptoms of a disorder. Take a look in the mirror friend, if you can tolerate it.

Peace

No, you're full of s***, and Comcast can either collect off the government with your tax money, or use this as a business write off. They'll probably take a shot at both.

I don't really think I need compassion for "at risk children". There never seems to be shortage of them, and we already have more than we can shake a Federal Entitlement Program at.

As for "caring for my fellow human beings"' goes, with 6+ billion and counting, how would a person know where to start?

That' 6+ billion sob stories, and there's only so much tax revenue to go around.

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