You can count CheapInternet.com among the biggest boosters of Comcast’s Internet Essentials program. Now the company is addressing one of the program’s biggest shortcomings by conducting a pilot program designed to bring Internet Essentials to low-income senior citizens.
Comcast also announced that it is doubling the speed of Internet Essentials and now offering free wireless modems to all new and existing customers. You can read more about that development if you Click Here.
The pilot program will be conducted in West Palm Beach, Florida where CBS12 television reports that, “For $9.95 a month the Internet Essentials Program not only extends to qualified low income senior citizens…” but that “… the first 100 seniors in the Boynton Beach area who sign up for the Internet Essential Program will receive free internet for the next 6 months.”
philly.com reports that “Comcast will begin the project for senior citizens in Palm Beach County, Fla., and expand it to other markets throughout the United States through the fall” and that although specifics are yet to be determined, it is expected that “Senior citizens who earn $35,000 a year or less are likely to qualify for the program.”
Surveys show that seniors use the internet far less than other demographic groups. According to a recent study by the Pew Research Center, just 47% of those age 65 and over (47%) have broadband at home. The Digital Divide is even more dramatic among low-income seniors.
We certainly urge Comcast to conduct and analyze the pilot program and develop a nationwide senior citizen internet program as quickly as possible, because this would address one of the major criticisms aimed at Internet Essentials.
As consumerist.com said, “The program currently limits eligibility to households with at least one child who can participate in the national school lunch program. Thus, households with pre-school age children, grown children, or no children at all have been omitted. This includes the elderly, many of whom — especially in urban areas — live at or near the poverty line and often have little to no Internet access.”
We doubt that anyone understands the plight of senior citizens better than those of us here at CheapInternet.com, because we received hundreds — maybe thousands — of heartbreaking emails from senior citizens and families of senior citizens on limited incomes who simply cannot afford typical budget-busting monthly internet bills of $60, $70 or more.
So once again, we tip our caps to Comcast and congratulate them for this effort to bring the Internet Essentials program to an expanded audience.