Comcast has once again proved its commitment to low-income Americans by opening up its Internet Essentials program to ALL low-income Americans, people with disabilities and seniors on Medicaid. They join millions of other low-income Americans who already participate in the Internet Essentials program. More than twice as many people can now get high-speed internet access for just $9.95 per month.
To repeat, just $9.95 per month.
Eligibility for Internet Essentials was once restricted to people who at least one child who qualified for the National School Lunch Program, but that restriction is now a thing of the past and millions more are now eligible including:
- People with disabilities
- Seniors on Medicaid
- All low-income adults (defined as 38% above the poverty line in your area)
If math is not your strong suit and you don’t know which side of the 38% you fall on, you can also qualify if you participate in any of these Federal assistance programs:
- The National School Lunch Program (free and reduced-price school lunch)
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP/food stamps)
- HUD housing assistance and Section 8
- Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (welfare)
- Supplemental Security Income (Social Security)
- Head Start or Early Head Start
- Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
- Tribal assistance (including TTANF, FDPIR, etc)
- WIC (Women, Infants, and Children)
- VA pension (Yea, vets!)
To quote our dear ol’ granny, “Holy freakin’ moly!” This is some great news for everyone who lives in areas where Comcast is available.
There are, however, a couple eligibility restrictions:
First, you can’t owe Comcast money. (Well, in reality, you can owe them money, but the debt must be more than one year old. If the debt is less than a year old, they may still approve your application or they may require you to wait until the debt is one year old.
Second, you cannot have subscribed to any of Comcast’s regularly-priced internet plans within he last 90 days. (This one seems counterproductive to us, because it forces Comcast’s low-income customers into an unwinnable situation in which they must cancel their subscriptions and go without internet service for 90 days, or forces them to enroll with a competitive low-income internet service provider.)
The $10 per month internet plan is available everywhere Comcast, the nation’s largest cable company, is available, and that includes 39 states plus the District of Columbia.
Comcast did put some limitations on the service: The program’s speed will be capped at 15-megabytes and comes with a monthly limit of one terabyte of data usage. The speed limit means you probably won’t be able to stream TV service, but the monthly data limit is so generous that you can probably do just about anything on the internet except heavy gaming. (We’ve argued in the past that the purpose of these low-income plans is to provide basic internet access to low-income Americans, allowing them to search for jobs, make medical appointments, allow kids to do their homework and allow parents to check their kid’s progress at school, not to help them fritter away the day gaming with Albanian computer geeks in their mothers’ basements. In other words, one terabyte per month is a hell of a deal for $10.
Two things that haven’t changed: Comcast continues to offer a $150 laptop and free digital literacy training for all Internet Essentials customers.
Way to go, Comcast. On behalf of all your new potential customers, we’d like to say thank you.