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Cable Technology Feature Article

August 06, 2014

Comcast to Offer Low-Rate Services

By Melissa Warten, Contributing Writer

The Internet may be known also as the World Wide Web, but for the majority of the worldwide population, it remains inaccessible or unaffordable. Major broadcast company Comcast (News - Alert) is hoping to alleviate this disparity by offering cheaper services to people who need them.

Comcast will provide up to six months of free Internet to new subscribers, as well as an “amnesty” program for families with unpaid bills. The federal government had mandated the offer, called “Internet Essentials”, when Comcast acquired NBCUniversal; at first only required through June 2014, Comcast is now extending the offer indefinitely.

The service offers Internet services at $10 per month to low-income families with school-age children. In addition, the amnesty service makes it possible for families with unpaid Comcast bills to still apply for the cheaper service—Internet Essentials will reject applicants with overdue bills or unreturned equipment, unless those bills are over a year old and the applicant meets all other eligibility criteria. In that case, the customers may still apply for the discounted service.

The program isn’t without flaws: critics say it is too difficult to sign up for, too strict on eligibility requirements, and needs further regulations if Comcast is going to buy over Time Warner (News - Alert) Cable. However, Comcast plans to unroll the program with more marketing than ever, citing an “unprecedented” amount of public service announcements at schools where 100 percent of students receive free lunch through the National School Lunch program. What’s more, Comcast will continue offering the option for low-income families to buy computers for less than $150, as well as access free digital literacy training.

"Throughout the back to school season, Comcast will actively engage with parents, teachers, non-profit partners, and elected officials to help spread the word to low-income families about the program," the company said in an announcement.

By making the World Wide Web more accessible, Comcast is helping to make the Internet as worldwide as it was intended to be. 

Edited by Adam Brandt

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