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Comcast's $10 Broadband Has a Few Catches
Can't Owe Comcast Money, Can't Have Had Service in Last 90 Days
by Karl Bode 08:21AM Monday Aug 08 2011
As we noted last week, Comcast is making the PR rounds for the company's plan to offer $10 broadband to low-income residents. The effort was actually proposed by Comcast as a merger condition, though an insider tells us that like all merger conditions -- there's a few catches that make the effort less of a drain on Comcast. The deal involves offering 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.

We already noted a few restrictions on the offer, such as the fact users have to be getting free lunches under the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), and that Comcast will only be doing this a few years. An employee writes in to note there's a few additional hurdles if you were interested: users can't currently be subscriber to Comcast service or have had service in the past 90 days, and the household can't have a past due bill or non-returned equipment. "Number 2 is catching a lot of those interested," says our source.

Once you've eliminated those who don't qualify for the school lunch program, eliminated those who already have service (not uncommon even in poor homes), and eliminate those who also owe Comcast money (also obviously not uncommon in poor homes), how many customers will Comcast actually wind up having to serve at the $10 price point? Even then, they'll only have to offer it for a few years, making it significantly less of a difficult merger condition than it might originally appear.

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Camelot One
Premium,MVM
join:2001-11-21
Greenwood, IN
kudos:2

Isn't it just understood

That you can't get service from a company you owe money to, without first paying the past due bill? It seems this would be a "catch" for any service, not just the "I'm too broke ass to pay for real internet" plan.
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Sabre
Di relung hatiku bernyanyi bidadari

join:2005-05-17
Indeed. I'm not crazy about the "new customers only" bit, but the "good standing" criterion seems perfectly fair to me. (Provided that one could make oneself eligible by paying the past-due bill and/or returning any missing equipment.)
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cork1958
Cork
Premium
join:2000-02-26

Free lunches?

What the heck does getting free lunches at school have to do with anything?

Sheesh! Some of these companies sure can come up with some stupid rules/stipulations!!
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Snakeoil
Ignore Button. The coward's feature.
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join:2000-08-05
Mentor, OH
kudos:1

1 recommendation

Re: Free lunches?

I think the idea is that if you are on the free lunch program, then that is a good indicator of you being poor/on social assistance programs [pc version of welfare].
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FFH5
Premium
join:2002-03-03
Tavistock NJ
kudos:5
said by cork1958:

What the heck does getting free lunches at school have to do with anything?

Sheesh! Some of these companies sure can come up with some stupid rules/stipulations!!

The idea is to help the kiddies learn by not being shutoff from the Internet. It is a good PR move to help get merger approval.
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Oh_No
Trogglus normalus

join:2011-05-21
Chicago, IL

Re: Free lunches?

Especially when the not having service for 90 days rules out anyone who recently lost their job and had to put their kids on welfare lunch and had to just cancel cable and internet.
They are punishing comcast customers only with the 90 days.
Those with DSL and satellite TV can who just lost their jobs and put their kids on welfare lunch can sign up right away from $10 internet from comcast.
computerpimp

join:2004-06-28

Re: Free lunches?

said by Oh_No:

Especially when the not having service for 90 days rules out anyone who recently lost their job and had to put their kids on welfare lunch and had to just cancel cable and internet...

That is what I have been thinking all along. Where is someone going to come up with $10 a month plus fees, and $150 (another $12.50/mo). That's money that if stretched wisely could go towards something important like feeding your child for a while. When money starts getting scarce needs come first before Internet.

A local K-12 district had computer labs at the schools and would take time and rotate kids through for "digital literacy". It seems like a much better investment of $150 to have the computers at the educational institution whether it is a lab, classroom, library, or mobile cart instead of one person gets the laptop and uses it. And if there is a power outage, there are books that can be taught from.
When the schools replaced older computers they often would refurb the surplus, old ones and give them to families the school knew couldn't afford one. If the people wanted Internet there was always Netzero if available.

Oh_No
Trogglus normalus

join:2011-05-21
Chicago, IL

1 recommendation

Re: Free lunches?

said by computerpimp:

said by Oh_No:

Especially when the not having service for 90 days rules out anyone who recently lost their job and had to put their kids on welfare lunch and had to just cancel cable and internet...

That is what I have been thinking all along. Where is someone going to come up with $10 a month plus fees, and $150 (another $12.50/mo). That's money that if stretched wisely could go towards something important like feeding your child for a while. When money starts getting scarce needs come first before Internet.

A local K-12 district had computer labs at the schools and would take time and rotate kids through for "digital literacy". It seems like a much better investment of $150 to have the computers at the educational institution whether it is a lab, classroom, library, or mobile cart instead of one person gets the laptop and uses it. And if there is a power outage, there are books that can be taught from.
When the schools replaced older computers they often would refurb the surplus, old ones and give them to families the school knew couldn't afford one. If the people wanted Internet there was always Netzero if available.

Netzero is more expensive since you need a phone line and many people do not get landlines anymore.

I disagree with your statements. Everyone needs internet at home especially for kids in school. If you are looking for a job you need a computer and internet. No one takes paper resumes and applications anymore, it is all online.
Teachers use email to communicate with parents way more frequently than in the past. Parents use the internet to read assignments to make sure their kid is not lying when they say they have no homework and to check grades live.
If you are poor you probably do not have time to or money to cart your kids around everywhere. The internet is cheaper.
There are teachers that require internet for their class just like they require certain textbooks.

In our society we have a standard of living that separates us from 3rd world countries.
This is:
Electricity
Clean water from a tap (except down south, lol)
Housing with minimum code requirements
Public Schools (everyone goes to school)
Mail
Internet/Phone/Communications
Police/Fire
Roads/Interstates/Stoplights/stop signs
Garbage collection
Free OTA TV (with news)
Free Radio
Parks
GPS
Access to safe to eat food
etc...

If you start taking these minimums away our standard of living in the US will go down.

There are way more wasteful things to take away from welfare recipients than internet.
Things like:
Buying junk food/candy with welfare cards
Shopping at expensive stores like Walgreens for food with welfare cards
Refusing to look for jobs outside the local area that would require them to move. (people must move to where the jobs are)
Not declaring father at birth so the mother can get welfare why living unmarried with the biological father.
Buying cable or satellite TV (it is a joke when you see a sat dish on section 8 housing)
More than 1 cell phone
Buying cigarette
Doing drugs (all welfare recipients should be drug tested)

thomasr

join:2010-01-21
Winston Salem, NC
kudos:1

News Flash!

First off, Netzero requires the use of a land-line telephone which in many areas is now $45-$55 dollars including taxes monthly. Also, dial-up Internet was dead by 2002... it simply is not fast enough for anything anymore.

Seond, the United Nations has proposed since 2003 that the Internet (broadband) be a basic human right. Let's face it, the Internet is here to stay, so who has the right to deny anyone who wants access simply because they can not afford to pay full prices which are blown out of proportion for it? Estonia, France, Greece, Finland and Spain already make sure their citizens can get a connection to the Internet if they desire...as a basic human right... so why can't others understand this and follow suit? Only countries that are eat up with capitalism and greed seem to object when it comes to basic human rights - they will gladly watch people go hungry or go without other basic necessities; and then tell you that you can do better than the poverty that you have been forced into with no fault of your own.

Now, I do not deny that there are a great many people who are on welfare and such that should not be...this is more a fault of our government not wanting to fully investigate these recipients backgrounds and such before cutting a check... You can not fix lazy - as it seems to be a problem in many government agencies across the USA. These workers are set for life, no matter what/how they do their jobs! Once you have cleaned out the slackers from all levels of government, then you can clean out the welfare roles of all recipients who are not worthy and sue them for reimbursements! It would be great if this were a reality, but until then - one could only wish! It is the governments job to help those who are truly in need, but it is not their job to hand out checks to all that apply!!!
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cdru
Go Colts
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join:2003-05-14
Fort Wayne, IN
kudos:7
Too qualify for the free lunch program, you need to be making < 130% of federal poverty levels, based a sliding scale based on where you live and frequency of pay. It's not tied to free lunches, it's just used as a "poverty indicator".

It's not uncommon to use school lunches, social security, TANF, Head Start, etc eligibility to determine if they can get "lifeline" type service. Here's AT&T's brochure for lifeline service in Michigan that lists the qualifying programs.
pfsmith

join:2006-11-16
Lafayette, IN
Reviews:
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said by cork1958:

What the heck does getting free lunches at school have to do with anything?

Sheesh! Some of these companies sure can come up with some stupid rules/stipulations!!

It's a way of piggy-backing on the governments already in-place screening process. Why create your own process if one already exists?

But, what about people without kids? Or, who homeschool?

Gmld

@comcast.net
What the heck does getting free lunches at school have to do with anything?

The program is geared toward low income families w/ school age children who need Internet for school

jckq10

@205.168.66.x
its just a quick of determining if a family is a low income family. If they are, the government gives the free lunch at school. So if the get free lunch, Comcast just saved a bunch of time, instead of trying to calculate who is a "low income family."

Alb Homeless

@173.226.104.x

Homeless

How is the $10 dollar cost supposed to help me? I have a laptop and a small
solar panel to help keep my laptop charged. Is Comcast going to setup hot zones
so I can use the Internet too. Finding open Wifi access points are far and few.

I am looking for work via the net when available.

Oh_No
Trogglus normalus

join:2011-05-21
Chicago, IL

Re: Homeless

said by Alb Homeless :

How is the $10 dollar cost supposed to help me? I have a laptop and a small
solar panel to help keep my laptop charged. Is Comcast going to setup hot zones
so I can use the Internet too. Finding open Wifi access points are far and few.

I am looking for work via the net when available.

Why not sleep near a library so you can get internet?
Also every mcdonalds has free wifi and I think so does starbucks. Just sayin....

IowaCowboy
Iowa native
Premium
join:2010-10-16
Springfield, MA
kudos:1
Reviews:
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Low Income Households

I live near (but not in) a low income housing complex and some of the cars that are parked outside of those units are luxury cars like Lexus and BMW and they are showroom quality. My neighbor is a former Comcast contractor and he would do installs in those units and they would get high end premium cable packages and stuff that he could not afford.

Some of those people game the system. One of our local TV stations setup a hidden camera outside a public assistance office and exposed people driving luxury cars, going in with designer handbags/clothing, $200+ Sneakers, etc. When they have money to buy these things, it takes away from people who need the benefits.
Wilsdom

join:2009-08-06

Re: Low Income Households

Drug dealers can't put money in the bank or pay taxes even if they wanted to so they buy expensive stuff even though they may not have a regular enough income to pay rent. They also probably only get a good 5 years before being killed or locked up

vpoko
Premium
join:2003-07-03
Boston, MA
Some people do game the system (public welfare), and for other people the system provides a genuine safety net.
Mr Matt

join:2008-01-29
Eustis, FL
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Reviews:
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Other conditions!

What if a previous tenant at that address owes Comcast for an unpaid bill or failed to return equipment in the last 20 Years, will the new tenant be able to obtain service under the program or will they have to provide a ton of documentation proving that they are not the previous tenant? What about a deposit? How much?

Better test, if customer is entitled to food stamps they should qualify for the reduced rate. This would be a good issue for the FCC to review.

Will Comcast still charge customer $7.00 for a modem?

Obviously Comcast wants to make customer jump through hoops to get the reduced rate.

tshirt
Premium
join:2004-07-11
Snohomish, WA
kudos:5
Reviews:
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Re: Other conditions!

said by Mr Matt:

Better test, if customer is entitled to food stamps they should qualify for the reduced rate. This would be a good issue for the FCC to review.

Not really a good test, as this program is aimed at school age children, which are not a requirement for food stamps.

thomasr

join:2010-01-21
Winston Salem, NC
kudos:1

Re: Other conditions!

said by tshirt:

said by Mr Matt:

Better test, if customer is entitled to food stamps they should qualify for the reduced rate. This would be a good issue for the FCC to review.

Not really a good test, as this program is aimed at school age children, which are not a requirement for food stamps.

Federal Free Lunch programs and SNAP (Welfare/Food Stamps) kind of work hand in hand. If your household meets the 130% poverty threshold to get your children on a Free Lunch program - chances are that your household already receives SNAP.

I just needed to state the obvious...

You are correct that this program to get $10 Internet is only aimed at households with school aged children though. The Federal Free Lunch program would be the quickest way to validate a) school age children b) household meets definition of poverty.

Aside from the scam artists - you will not find too many households without children that usually can qualify for SNAP (Welfare/Food Stamps). Many households which have two adults earning at least minimum wage would require at least 2-3 children to qualify for any type of assistance.

Kilroy
Premium,MVM
join:2002-11-21
Saint Paul, MN
said by Mr Matt:

What if a previous tenant at that address owes Comcast for an unpaid bill or failed to return equipment in the last 20 Years, will the new tenant be able to obtain service under the program or will they have to provide a ton of documentation proving that they are not the previous tenant?

Interesting that you mention this. I tried to move my service using Comcast's online chat. When I attempted to move my exsiting Comcast service to my new apartment it seemed that the previous tenent had an unpaid bill with Comcast. They wanted me to go to their office with ID to prove I was not related to the person who owed them. I was blown away. I wanted to move service that had been in place for two years, including a phone number and I had to take time out of my day to go to their office? I told them to forget it. I called and service was moved without any mention of the previous tenent.
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swopety

@clearwire-wmx.net
God forbid Comcast has conditions on the at cost, reduced price service. You want something for less than others pay you have to do a little extra. Trust that the people who "qualify" for this nonsense already have plenty of experience jumping through hoops and gaming the system in order to get their "government assistance" aka gubment check. I get a feeling that you are one of them Mr. Matt because you are already complaining about it. People who are the first to complain about what they have to do to get the freebies or the reducedies (my word) are usually the dead beats anyway.

Mr. Matt please stop being a drain on society.