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Cable Technology Feature Article

August 07, 2014

Comcast Boosts Internet Essentials Offer with 6 Mos. Free Service

By Tara Seals, TMCnet Contributor

Comcast (News - Alert) has announced it will include up to six months of complimentary service for any new family that has not yet applied for Internet Essentials, it’s low-cost, no-frills broadband offer for the disadvantaged that it agreed to offer as part of its mega-merger with NBCUniversal.

Since 2011, Comcast’s innovative broadband adoption program has connected more than 350,000 families, or about 1.4 million low-income Americans, to the Internet. The program is available in 39 states and the District of Columbia.

Comcast also announced an amnesty program for certain low-income families who could qualify for Internet Essentials, but have a past due balance. Customers who have an outstanding bill that is more than one year old are now eligible for the program. Comcast will offer amnesty for that debt for the purpose of connecting to Internet Essentials, so long as the customer meets all the other eligibility criteria.

In March, as it geared up to makes its case to acquire Time Warner (News - Alert) Cable, Comcast announced the indefinite continuation of Internet Essentials beyond its original three-year commitment.

“Internet Essentials is about transforming lives and inspiring a new generation of leaders to be digitally ready to access the information and tools all students need to succeed in the 21st century,” said Comcast executive vice president, David Cohen. “By offering six months of free Internet Essentials service, along with an amnesty program, we hope to convince even more families that there is no better school supply than having broadband Internet at home. With it, kids can do their homework and parents can be more connected to their children’s teachers and schools.”

Throughout the back to school season, Comcast said that it will actively engage with parents, teachers, non-profit partners and elected officials to help spread the word to low-income families about the program—participants have until Sept. 20 to apply. It said that it plans to air a series of public service announcements (PSAs) that promote the new, six months free offer, and to focus on schools where 100 percent of students receive a free lunch through the National School Lunch Program and can therefore automatically apply. Comcast will also continue to offer families the option to purchase a computer at less than $150, as well as provide access to free digital literacy training online, in print and in person.

Edited by Adam Brandt

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