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Comcast Highlights $10 Broadband in DC
Hopes Nobody Notices Few People Can Get It
by Karl Bode 02:29PM Tuesday Sep 20 2011 Tipped by FFH5 See Profile
One of the few conditions faced by Comcast when they acquired NBC Universal was that the company had to offer $10 broadband to any household making less than $24,000 a year -- for three years. It was actually a condition Comcast volunteered, and it's giving them a lot of PR mileage as the company deploys the program around the country. After promoting the program in Miami, Delaware the company kicked off the program at Ballou High School in the District of Columbia alongside FCC boss Julius Genachowski.

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"This past January, Comcast made a commitment to the FCC and the American people to provide discounted broadband service to millions of low-income families," Genachowski said in a statement. "The program will prepare the next generation, create new opportunities for more jobs and will make a positive difference in the lives of many Americans."

Comcast's "Internet Essentials Program delivers 1.5 Mbps down, 384 kbps service for $10 a month with no fees, the option to purchase a $150 computer, and digital literacy training. The company today stated that they plan to offer the program in 4,000 school districts in 39 states and the District of Columbia this school year. Comcast estimates 1.5 million to 2 million families are eligible for the program, though in reality those numbers are likely substantially lower.

There's a few caveats to the program insiders tell us are keeping many from signing up. Applicants must qualify for the National School Lunch Program (families must make less than $24,000 annually), they can't owe Comcast money or equipment, and they can't currently have service from Comcast or have had service in the last 90 days. The past-due bill restriction, not too uncommon for low-income households, is the largest impediment for most qualified users according to our source.

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amungus
Premium
join:2004-11-26
America

Too many restrictions

Why should this only be for families? There just seem to be too many restrictions here. Of course, I'm sure that's how they want it to be.

KrK
Heavy Artillery For The Little Guy
Premium
join:2000-01-17
Tulsa, OK

1 recommendation

Re: Too many restrictions

"Think of the Children"

gar187er
I do this for a living

join:2006-06-24
Dover, DE
kudos:4
typical...everyone feels they should be entitled to program, regardless of their situation....
--
I'm better than you!
ShellMMG

join:2009-04-16
Grass Lake, MI
Reviews:
·Frontier Communi..

TANSTAAFL

Here in Michigan, cities like Detroit and Jackson are about to offer free school lunches to ALL students with no means testing. Income doesn't matter. I have yet to find out if this so-called "free" lunch will also qualify all students of those schools for taxpayer and other customer subsidized cable internet.
ISurfTooMuch

join:2007-04-23
Tuscaloosa, AL

1 recommendation

Re: TANSTAAFL

Probably not. Getting free lunches isn't enough; the student has to receive them through the National School Lunch Program, which is income based. The only possible way around that is if these cities have reached some sort of agreement with the NSLP to allow all students to participate.

Also, just for the record, this isn't taxpayer-funded Internet access. This was something that Comcast offered to do in order to get their buyout of NBCU approved.

mix

join:2002-03-19
Utica, MI

Re: TANSTAAFL

Actually, the correct answer is probably so:

»www.virtual-strategy.com/2011/09···-experim
»www.theoaklandpress.com/articles···3584.txt
Wilsdom

join:2009-08-06
My New England city does the same...but only during the summer

KrK
Heavy Artillery For The Little Guy
Premium
join:2000-01-17
Tulsa, OK

2 recommendations

So, it's a program to make life easier on those who mooch

Period.

You already have to be on/eligible for all kinds of assistance, and now you get another program for not having to pay like the rest of us for the LUXURIES of life.
--
"Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power." -- Benito Mussolini
talz13

join:2006-03-15
Avon, OH

Re: So, it's a program to make life easier on those who mooch

Yep, I'll be enjoying my luxurious 1.5mbps broadband between nights out at my floor seats at staples center.

KrK
Heavy Artillery For The Little Guy
Premium
join:2000-01-17
Tulsa, OK

Re: So, it's a program to make life easier on those who mooch

There's regular working folks who don't mooch who'd like to get $10 broadband.

Nope. Well at least this will help them afford all the movie channels and full channels on their Cable package.
--
"Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power." -- Benito Mussolini
ISurfTooMuch

join:2007-04-23
Tuscaloosa, AL

1 recommendation

Re: So, it's a program to make life easier on those who mooch

Actually, there are regular working folks who qualify for this. If you're living alone and have one child, your child can get free lunches through NSLP as long as you make less than $19,123/year. For someone working 40 hours a week, that works out to just over $9.13/hour, which is just under $2 over minimum wage. Not a lot, I'll admit, but there are plenty of jobs that pay less than this.
ISurfTooMuch

join:2007-04-23
Tuscaloosa, AL

1 recommendation

While there are plenty of people who mooch, there are also plenty who are legitimately stuck below the poverty level, despite their best efforts. Some examples are grandparents who get custody of their grandchildren for one reason or another. These people are often retired and now have to send that kid to school. And yes, there are also the classic unwed mothers who had a kid too soon and are now stuck in a low-paying job. Yes, they made a mistake, but there are many who are trying to scrape by and get out of that trap, and not all of them succeed.

Don't get me wrong, I've encountered plenty of deadbeats, and I have no sympathy for them, but not everyone who is poor falls into that category.

45612019

join:2004-02-05
New York, NY
Internet access is far from a luxury. Most minimum wage national employers now require you fill out an employment form online and take an online test. They won't even talk to you in person if you haven't completed this bullshit first.

I'd say the real moochers are the fat cats on Wall Street making millions of dollars a year by shifting around numbers on a computer whilst the factory worker who actually creates something and contributes to the world lives in poverty.
ISurfTooMuch

join:2007-04-23
Tuscaloosa, AL

Re: So, it's a program to make life easier on those who mooch

Not to mention that more and more employers are only posting their job openings online. Some still use the classifieds, but that number is rapidly shrinking.

And, as far as education goes, going to college is virtually impossible now if you don't have Internet access. Course materials are often delivered via a course management system, and more and more tests are administered the same way. While schools still have computer labs, even those are shrinking as it has come to be expected that students will supply their own computers.

KrK
Heavy Artillery For The Little Guy
Premium
join:2000-01-17
Tulsa, OK

2 recommendations

Broadband is a luxury.

Smart phones are a luxury.

CableTV is a luxury.

You'd be amazed at how many people think they are entitled to these things--- and that someone else should pay for them.
--
"Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power." -- Benito Mussolini

45612019

join:2004-02-05
New York, NY

Re: So, it's a program to make life easier on those who mooch

Repeating things doesn't make it true.
meryna128

join:2009-06-03
Austin, TX
Interesting. I would think the only real complaint here would be that all the stipulations on being able to get it make it nigh impossible to obtain it anyways.

Though, I don't see how people are "not having to pay" like the rest of us.

They pay $10/month for HSI... They're paying something, if they can even get the deal that is.

I could see being mad that Comcast picked up NBC, I could even see being mad at all the ISPs out there for not offering a lowest tier offering that is very very cheap. But being mad because a company volunteered to make a cheaper offering that you maybe don't qualify for perhaps? I dunno, can't see why you'd be mad about that.

Perhaps you could educate us all as to why this has you so mad KrK?

KrK
Heavy Artillery For The Little Guy
Premium
join:2000-01-17
Tulsa, OK

1 recommendation

Re: So, it's a program to make life easier on those who mooch

Only if you've used up all the social security numbers of your kids already signing up for service you don't pay for, ran up the bills, and got disconnected.

That's how they do it here.
--
"Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power." -- Benito Mussolini

KrK
Heavy Artillery For The Little Guy
Premium
join:2000-01-17
Tulsa, OK
Because I work for a living, and our country is going broke. 'Nuff said.

»www.youtube.com/watch?v=-IGfe2tAUbM


Maybe should do his next Video on his cheap Broadband...
--
"Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power." -- Benito Mussolini
Expand your moderator at work

pnh102
Reptiles Are Cuddly And Pretty
Premium
join:2002-05-02
Mount Airy, MD

Lame

Why can't the general public get this plan? Once again more proof that the Comcast/NBC merger did nothing to help the average consumer.

Major, major fail on Comcast.
--
"Net Neutrality" zealots - the people you can thank for your capped Internet service.
Expand your moderator at work
RawHeadRex

join:2011-08-24
Richmond, IN
Reviews:
·Comcast

Re: Lame

Probably the same reason why the general public can't get the business triple play. Which is a better deal than the general public triple play (Business triple play+no caps+TV+phone=better deal). However, The low income plan is for a better cause, our children. I'm sure the way this nation is looking, we all be on the low income package soon.

mod_wastrel
iamwhatiam

join:2008-03-28
kudos:1

Object lesson from Comcast

How to turn a govt. requirement for M&A into great PR. (Yep, a real feather in their "cap".)
Flycat

join:2003-05-12
Lawrence, MA

Currently a TV only customer

Does anyone know if the "currently have service" disqualifier applies to TV service?
daveburstein

join:2011-04-07
New York, NY

1 recommendation

Respectfully disagree

Karl

You're right about the limits and I am unsatisfied with "back of the bus" slow service. But unlike most of what comes from D.C., there's some substance here.

It's not like the AT&T/BellSouth plan that tried to make sure no one signed up. Comcast is actively promoting the program around the country. Sure that gets them good pr, but when they are doing the right thing I don't begrudge them.

All the "demand side initiatives" funded literally into the billions have produced unbelievably few signups and certainly less than 2M. Nearly everyone in this society knows what the internet and broadband are. They don't need some middle class bureaucrat "teaching" them about the "value of broadband."

70% or so of homes are already signed up. Many of the remaining 30% aren't interested so no program will help them. Many are uninterested for sensible reasons, like having access at work. Something like a quarter of the non-subscribers are functionally illiterate and don't have much use for the net. Many others don't really have much need given where they are in life.

By far the largest group who don't have broadband but would like it are those held back by the cost. The common price of low speed in the U.S. has gone up from $150-200/year in 2007 to $270/year because of a spineless FCC and weak competition. Ordinary service at 3-10 megabits typically is $400-600.

That's a heck of a lot if you're poor, so it's no surprise many people don't have broadband because they can't afford it.

Comcast is perhaps 40% of the U.S.. If other carriers matched this offer, several million more would be reached.

That's actually a significant fraction of those who don't have Internet but want it. It's not enough, but it's a good thing.
db

DataRiker
Premium
join:2002-05-19
00000

4 edits

Re: Respectfully disagree

Get back to us when Comcast simply offers it to people free and clear.

As far as Comcast sees it, why not make a few dollars a month off of people who jump through the hoops to get it, since they would probably otherwise go without.

ATT has been offering the same speed for 14.95 a month for the first year in my area for a while if you have phone service with them ( which many people do )

Dennis
Premium,Mod
join:2001-01-26
Algonquin, IL
kudos:5

Re: Respectfully disagree

I disagree as well. The AT&T offer wasn't widely advertised but was open to anyone who asked. The requirements placed on this plan are almost nonsensical. I'd be shocked if in a year from now the take up rate even came close to 100k for this joke of a PR move.
--
My Blog. Because I desperately need the acknowledgement of others.

Tabitha Ann Judd born 10/24: The Judd Family site!
ramakowski

join:2007-02-17

Re:So, it's a program to make life easier on those who mooch

School lunch programs are for students, including those born to your less well off cousins. National broadband is a requirement for a society desiring to compete economically and culturally. My children had one or two computers per classroom, and about two free hours each week to share access among thirty students. We can educate them now or have them climbing in our windows later. You probably don't complain when you make a purchase at a close out sale.
qworster

join:2001-11-25
Bryn Mawr, PA

They're running ads for it in Philly...

I've heard several radio ads for this service, but they claim it's only for households whose kids qualify for free school lunches.
qworster

join:2001-11-25
Bryn Mawr, PA

Mr K you are WRONG!

Broadband is NOT a luxury! Today you need it to apply for jobs, to pay your bills-and kids need it to do their schoolwork.

Why don't YOU try going a month without it?

I'll give odds you are a republican.....

•••••
johnfc

join:2002-11-23
Gaithersburg, MD

Nice Idea

Comcast is doing something very nice for a demographic group that needs it the most. I should point out that the speed tier for the offering is not too bad at all..about where we were when CC got into the internet business several years ago. Not really fast by today's standard, but it seems to be targeted more to the kids and families for light duty use with school, browsing, email etc. You do not really need 50/10 for those activities. For these families removing the cost barrier to the internet is a great help. CC should get some credit for their efforts. Access to the internet will make a major contribution to helping this group advance economically over time which will benefit society at large.
elray

join:2000-12-16
Santa Monica, CA
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable
·EarthLink

Extorted Socialism

A tax by any other name; other Comcast subscribers are "spreading the wealth around", so a particular political party can have cover while they approve an otherwise anti-competitive mega-merger to reward Wall Street for their contributions to the 2008 campaign.

We'll see the same take place with AT&T-T-Mobile.

squirrel83
cheers

join:2005-05-02
Honolulu, HI

24000

cool I make less than 24000 a year!

HotRodFoto
Premium
join:2003-04-19
Denver, CO

Good for you Comcast!

Awesome, it is great to see this sort of thing happening in this day and age when having internet service is becoming more and more a part of everyday life. I would like to see it taken one step farther and have this offered to those who are on fixed incomes from disability and social security. Nice to see Comcast taking on the digital divide and helping kids get an education.
--
Capturing the images of Colorado
»jdebordphoto.com
TakeaSecond

join:2011-09-26
Ruther Glen, VA

Comcast$10 BB=Sprint 3G BB levels

and I pay Sprint 59. a month for 1.5 level 33kps up service. I am in between Fredericksburg & Richmond and most of my neighbors are on well water. But who can survive on 24K in the city.. Hope you have 3 roommates!

Did Comcast inform you in addition to the 10 charge for internet there are $10 charge for local taxes & fees on every bill? My elderly father lives in DC and I pay his Comcast bill... the taxes are horrendous up there..

urdrwho

join:2006-10-10

Splintered society

The USA is a country that has been so splintered that I don't think there is a chance to come back to reality. Special parking for different classes, free lunch for different classes, LIHEAP for special classes, broadband for special classes.....

On and on and on it goes. Breaking up the people into special classes which is a sure way to break up the support for one nation for all. It is now a nation splintered into special classes which in the end pit us against each other. »i.dslr.net/v2/lite/grey/sad.gif
djcrazy
Premium
join:2009-08-05
Minneapolis, MN
Reviews:
·Comcast
·T-Mobile US

LOL, where's my bailout?

Four ways Internet Essentials gets you connected — for less.
While participating in Internet Essentials:

* You get fast home Internet service for only $9.95 a month, plus tax
* You never have any price increases or pay any activation or equipment rental fees
* You can buy a computer at initial enrollment for the low price of just $149.99 + tax
* You can get free Internet training — online, in print and in person

---------------------------------------------------------------

More socialism. Although I support the base idea of providing children with this as a tool to better their future. One must consider the parents who put them into this predicament in the first place. While I DO have sympathy for the families who have through no fault of their own lost the good paying jobs they had to support themselves and/or who had medical issues which have either bankrupted them or caused other problems, I also know there are many others who chose to have kids even though they did not have the means to support them nor were they even trying.

I see the line about "no price increases" and wonder why my total cable bill went up about $12 a month last year. Because I work for a living, I get stuck with this increase as well as my taxes having to pay for people who choose not to be responsible and milk the system. I don't get free medical care. I, as well as my employer have to share the cost of insurance and would also have to pay a certain amount to any medical bills I would incur. I also have increased food, shelter and gas/transportation costs that I have to pay for all by myself.

This current climate is unsustainable and I see a very dim future for this country moving forward.