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Home » Technology

Comcast Internet Essentials Offers $9.95 Internet to Low Income Families

Last updated by on January 3, 2015

One of my biggest callings in life is to take it to “the man”, and there is no bigger or annoying man out there than Comcast.

I recently highlighted how to avoid Comcast’s modem rental fee and then how to replace Comcast’s modem with your own. Here’s another way to avoid their excessively overpriced fees.

If you have a child who is eligible for a free or reduced lunch program at school, you can get discounted Internet service ($9.95 per month) from Comcast, along with a discounted netbook for $149.99 through a program called “Internet Essentials“.

In order for a household to be eligible for Internet Essentials, it must meet each of the four following criteria:

  1. comcast free lunch programIs located where Comcast offers Internet service
  2. Has at least one child receiving free or reduced price school lunches through the National School Lunch Program (Comcast asks for documentation on this)
  3. Has not subscribed to Comcast Internet service within the last 90 days
  4. Does not have an overdue Comcast bill or un-returned equipment

So, if you meet the above criteria, $9.95 per month Internet is yours for the taking. If you weren’t aware of the free or reduced lunch program, the reduced (and hence, the discounted internet service) are highlighted via this income eligibility chart:

A family of 3 is eligible at an income below $36,612 and a family of four at an income below $44,123.

Just don’t expect Comcast to crank up the speeds for you though. According to the program FAQ’s:

“Internet Essentials provides home Internet service with download speeds of up to 5 Mbps and upload speeds of up to 1Mbps.”

Their slowest internet speeds at a price that likely is still above their cost to give you service while they relentlessly try to sell low income households (with kids) overpriced cable and digital voice service? Not to mention, the program was required by the FCC as part of their NBC Universal agreement. Mashable explains,

“While this project seems like a goodwill initiative on part of the giant communications provider, it is actually a by-product of the Comcast-NBC merger, in which the company agreed to “increase broadband deployment in low income households” as one of a number of conditions to the acquisition.”

If you’re elderly, single, or childless and low income – sorry.

You didn’t think Comcast would actually give something away for the greater good, did you?

If you meet the criteria, minus the 90 day eligibility requirement, do yourself a favor and cancel your Comcast internet service today so that you can get discounted service 90 days from now.

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About the Author
I am G.E. Miller, & this is my story. My goal is financial independence ASAP. If you share that goal, join me & 10,000+ others by getting FREE email updates. You can also explore every post I have written, in order.

  • Natalie H says:

    Is the income guideline based on gross income or AGI?

  • Ron Ablang says:

    I’m in that place where I make too much money to qualify for any social programs like this and not enough to where I could be considered “comfortable”. Besides, my child is not yet old enough to be in school.

  • Kat kat says:

    “Their slowest internet speeds at a price that likely is still above their cost to give you service.”

    GE, I agree with your point of view in this article but disagree with this comment above. Internet seems overpriced to everyone but since I work in the industry, I can tell you building and maintaining an infrastructure to deliver internet to individual customers is expensive in itself.

    Think of all the physical lines that have to go to each building and through each street to provide you with internet. These lines are normally either copper (expensive) or fiber optics (super expensive). Transporting information takes using costly routers and switches which can cost up to and excess of $50,000 each.

    If these lines break from weather, wear, construction cutting into it, they have to be repaired by experienced professionals.

    I can tell you, I work for a small-mid sized company. We spend over 1 million a month building and maintaining these lines. The profit margin is not as great as people think.

    Ok, sorry. I’ll get off the soap box now. It’s a bit annoying when people complain about internet being expensive when they don’t take into account the simple logistics of it all.

    • G.E. Miller says:

      While I agree that the cost to build and maintain the infrastructure of an ISP is lofty, the incremental cost of adding on low income customers that would not otherwise be able to afford internet is extremely marginal. Whether there are 2,000,000 or 2,000,001 customers, the cost of the infrastructure would be the same. It’s a matter of accounting, I suppose.

  • Matt says:

    It sounds like a fair program, more amazingly from comcast. How much good will come from this program. It seems doubtful we are going to see a up tick in internet commerce. I guess the goal is to help kids with homework? Farmville for all?

  • tralala says:

    You will get the lowest speed and the oldest modem (naturally no wifi) that even Comcast techs have not seen in ages. When you call for technical support you will be offered to pay $80, no support otherwise. You will also have to self- install unless you are running into legit “no signal” issues and they send a tech pretty fast. They will not do anything with your computer, just leave the Ethernet cable out for you to connect to your PC. So you basically get what you pay for. I am wondering what is the government’s involvement.

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