We could understand if critics of Comcast’s Internet Essentials program were upset because the program doesn’t offer low income Americans free internet service similar to the free government cell phone program.
But that’s not the reason some shortsighted do-gooders have their activist panties in a wad.
According to Comcast Vice President David L. Cohen, there’s a school district in the suburbs outside Philadelphia in which the district’s superintendent has banned Internet Essentials promotional materials.
Why, you might ask, would he want to leave his students on the wrong side of the digital divide? Why would he deny them the opportunity to sign up for a service they would have otherwise been unable to afford?
According to the anonymous superintendent, he would be “playing favorites” if he allowed the company to promote a service that is sorely needed by his students.
That might be true, and we could understand the criticism, if Internet Essentials actually had competitors in that Philadelphia suburb, but it doesn’t. A limited number of companies have signed up to offer the cheap internet service through a consortium of private companies and public agencies known as Connect2Compete.
In other words, the superintendent is guilty of what’s known as solving a problem that doesn’t exist.
Here’s our suggestion for the superintendent: How about if you get around the issue of playing favorites by inviting every company that offers high speed internet to low income residents of your community for $9.95 per month to distribute promotional materials to the students in your district.
What’s that? Comcast Internet Essentials is the only company that’s offering it? Well, you did your duty, Mr. Superintendent, and never played favorites.
If another company eventually decides to make your students the same generous offer that Comcast has already made, invite them to distribute their materials, too.
Until then, get out of Comcast’s way and allow them to bring high speed internet to your students and their families.