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Posts tagged: Internet Essentials

Comcast allows nonprofits to provide low-cast prepaid Internet cards

Comcast, the nation's largest cable operator, is allowing groups and nonprofits to buy prepaid cards for its Internet Essentials broadband service.

Recent press releases say the option will roll out in the second half of 2013.

Comcast is required to offer Internet Essentials to qualifiying families and customers. Criteria are:

  • Have at least one child eligible to participate in the National School Lunch Program
  • Have not subscribed to Comcast Internet service within the last 90 days
  • Not have an overdue Comcast bill or unreturned equipment

The eligibility also includes families with home-schooled students and those with students in private or parochial schools. Since starting the service, Comcast has enrolled more than 150,000 families, representing a total of 600,000 low-income Americans (including 300,000 children), the company disclosed recently.

The offer means eligible homes pay $9.95 per month for Internet service measuring 3 Mbps.

Comcast itself recognizes the service is essential in bridging the “digital divide.”  It said it's seen broadband adoption in higher-income areas reaching around 90 percent of households. While in lower income areas, the rate of adoption approaches 15 to 20 percent of households.

See this a blog post for a recent Comcast blog post on that topic.

The Internet Essentials Opportunity Cards will provide “yet another way to accelerate enrollment by empowering community-based partners, businesses and foundations to help connect families to the Internet,” Comcast said in a statement.

Comcast offers more details about Essentials web service for familes

Comcast Corp. has launched a three-year effort to push broadband technology into lower-income homes. Called the Internet Essentials program, the test will offer $9.95 per month broadband connections to every family who lives in the Comcast service area and who has a child receiving free school lunches.

Launched this past summer, the program will run through 2013, said Comcast spokesman Walt Neary. Neary visited Spokane this week and took part in two sessions explaining the program.

Eligible families can also receive a voucher worth $150 toward the purchase of a netbook computer for use in the program.

In addition, Comcast is arranging for free Internet training across Washington state for eligible families. In Spokane those courses will be provided through the Boys and Girls Club of Spokane County and through Tincan, a nonprofit that advocates for technology training.

No starting dates for the classes have been announced.

To be eligible, a family must live within Comcast’s service area, have a child participating in a free lunch school program and not have used the company’s Internet service within the preceding 90 days.

Once signed up, the program continues at $9.95 through the child’s senior year in school if the student continues receiving a free lunch.

Comcast officials say between two and three million children within its national service area are eligible.

Comcast will not make any attempt to upsell more services to families using the program, Neary added.

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