We’ve doled out a lot of compliments over the years for Internet Essentials, Comcast’s high-speed internet service for low-income Americans. And now we’re going to do it again, because the Philadelphia-based cable TV giant has made this outstanding program even better by doubling its speed from 5 Megabytes per second to 10 Mbps.
10 Mbps download is fast!
Comcast is also starting a pilot program to determine if and how to extend Internet Essentials to needy senior citizens. Click Here to read more about that program.
Of course, this increase still doesn’t meet the Federal Communications Commission’s definition of “broadband,” which is a preposterously high 25 Mbps, but in the real world in which most of us live, 10 Mbps is crazy fast. Unless you spend the day downloading the latest Hollywood films or playing online video games, its fast enough to handle anything else you may do on the internet.
After all, the name of Comcast’s program is Internet Essentials and 10 Mbps is definitely all you need to handle your online essentials.
For example, here at CheapInternet.com we pay full price for AT&T’s U-Verse service and it delivers 6 Mbps. That’s fast enough for us to send and receive thousands of emails a day and conduct an entire internet-based business. In addition, we suspect that Carl, our latest college intern, spends most of his day downloading YouTube videos instead of completing his actual assignments. And 6 Mbps is fast enough to handle it all.
With that background in mind, you can understand why we think the FCC was completely out of touch with reality when it recently upped its definition of “high-speed” to 25 Mbps.
Even better, current Internet Essentials customers won’t need to jump through any complicated technical hoops to get the fast speed. All you need to do is shut down your current modem and then restart it. Voila! Your speed will have magically doubled.
Now get a free wireless router with your order
But Comcast wasn’t satisfied with merely upping the speed of Internet Essentials. It’s added another very nice touch for which we give them major kudos.
A few months ago we criticized Comcast for developing this terrific program to bring high-speed internet to low-income Americans, but then hobbling them by charging them full price for the piece of equipment necessary to connect to the internet.
The company must have been listening, because in the same announcement that touted the new, higher speed, the company also announced that it will now offer each qualifying household a free wireless router. The wireless router offer is being made to all new customers and is also being made retroactively to all current customers.
Are you eligible for this great Internet Essentials program?
More than 500,000 low-income American households including more than two million residents have already signed up for Comcast’s Internet Essentials program. The eligibility requirements are relatively simple and straight forward, so you may be eligible, too.
To be eligible, a family must have at least one child eligible to participate in the National School Lunch Program. And that includes students in all public, parochial and private schools plus homeschool students.
Please note the word eligible in that definition. It means your child doesn’t need to actually participate in the school lunch program. They just need to qualify for the program. It may be a minor point because most children who are eligible for the program do participate in it, but we always feel its worth pointing out this distinction.
In some cases, your child may not even need to be eligible for the school lunch program for you to qualify for Internet Essentials. If 50% of the children enrolled in any school are eligible for the school lunch program, then ALL children in that school are eligible, which means they’re also eligible for Internet Essentials.
Finally, it’s also worth noting that Comcast is not increasing the price of Internet Essentials despite the fact that it’s doubling the speed and now offering its customers free modems. It still costs just $9.95 per month, which is a huge savings on regular internet service which often costs $60 or more per month.
To learn how to apply for Internet Essentials, click here.