dslreports logo
site
spacer

spacer
 
   
spc
story category
Comcast's 'Internet Essentials' Amnesty Program Announced
by Karl Bode 04:14PM Wednesday Aug 06 2014 Tipped by newview See Profile
To get their acquisition of NBC approved by regulators, Comcast proposed a merger condition requiring they provide $10, 1.5 Mbps broadband to all of the homes that qualify for the National School Lunch Program. This "Internet Essentials" program has seen significant criticism (and even some protests in Philly) over the years for being a bit of a public relations show pony, with people complaining Comcast intentionally made the program cumbersome and difficult to qualify for.

Click for full size
With the company trying to gain regulatory approval of their acquisition of Time Warner Cable, Comcast has recently been placing more attention on the Essentials program, something that in turn has resulted in renewed criticism of the pony for being relatively hollow. To address some of these concerns, Comcast has announced that they are making additional changes.

For one, Comcast says they're now offering low-income users that have not yet applied for the service six months of completely free service. The company also states they're offering an "amnesty program" for low-income users that have a past-due balance with the company, something that previously disqualified potential applicants -- given most lower income families are frequently in debt on numerous fronts.

"By offering up to six months of complimentary 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," states Comcast's top lobbyist David Cohen.

More importantly for Cohen and Comcast, they hope the changes will ease regulator worries that the Time Warner Cable acquisition won't be good for consumers.

view:
topics flat nest 
78036364

join:2014-05-06
USA

Qualifcations

To get their acquisition of NBC approved by regulators, Comcast proposed a merger condition requiring they provide $10, 1.5 Mbps broadband to all of the homes that qualify for the National School Lunch Program

In my state which Comcast which largely take completely over if the TWC merger is approved has a program where some counties is deem poor enough ALL kids qualify for free lunch regardless of actual income. So everyone in that county where they have service would then qualify for this?

Rob
Premium
join:2001-08-25
Miami, FL
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Comcast

Re: Qualifcations

said by 78036364:

To get their acquisition of NBC approved by regulators, Comcast proposed a merger condition requiring they provide $10, 1.5 Mbps broadband to all of the homes that qualify for the National School Lunch Program

In my state which Comcast which largely take completely over if the TWC merger is approved has a program where some counties is deem poor enough ALL kids qualify for free lunch regardless of actual income. So everyone in that county where they have service would then qualify for this?

Nope, since CC would consider existing TWC customers as old customers and not new, therefore not allowing htem to take advantage of this deal.
--
CheckSite.us | YourIP.us | Reverseip.us

CosmicDebri
Still looking for intelligent life

join:2001-09-01
Port Saint Lucie, FL

Give it up already

Just give it up....... they've spun the shit out of everything they do so badly that your average Joe and Josaphina are realizing it's all bullshit.

How long is going to be before they start blaming the 'Internet Essential' users for using too much bandwidth and either discontinuing the program or bringing in official caps........
--
Follow Your Bliss -- Joseph Cambell
I reject your Reality and substitute my own! -- Adam Savage, Mythbuster

bigballer

@205.214.216.x

Re: Give it up already

How about this:

$10 dollar 5 mbps for everyone, no restrictions.

Very, very fair price considering Google is giving this internet promo for free. If Comcast would do this, I could care less about this merger
78036364

join:2014-05-06
USA

Re: Give it up already

How about free shit for everyone? That how real life works. everything for free. Your job will still pay you if they had to give their product or service out for free wouldn't they?

bigballer

@205.214.216.x

1 recommendation

Re: Give it up already

I have no problem paying for internet so long it be at a reasonable price.

The problem is the low tier of (5/1) doesn't even qualify as "broadband." You honestly think 5/1 internet even costs comcast that much? With $10 a month, i bet you comcast still profits. 5/1 for $10 a month for everyone I think is a perfectly fair deal. It's not free, and it's more than enough to fill Comcast's cost of the service and push them for a profit at that speed.

Hey, if Google can do it and still buck a profit, why can't comcast....
ITGeeks

join:2014-04-20
Cleveland, OH

Re: Give it up already

Who says it does not qualify as "broadband"? The FCC? No right to claim what is.

Google isn't making anything. You do realize that right? And if they were, they wouldn't be afraid to announce their numbers. When a company that is public is afraid to announce their numbers, there is a problem. The SEC should force them to disclose their numbers because otherwise they are hiding information from future and current investors/shareholders. Maybe could be considered inside trading.

cableties
Premium
join:2005-01-27

1 recommendation

I'm for $1/Mbs. Want 10Mbs? $10.
--
Splat
rebus9

join:2002-03-26
Tampa Bay
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS
·Bright House Net..
said by CosmicDebri:

Just give it up....... they've spun the shit out of everything they do so badly that your average Joe and Josaphina are realizing it's all bullshit.

What I want to know is, why is Comcast allowed to call a 1.5 Mbps service "broadband" when the FCC defines broadband as at least 4 Mbps?

netcool
Premium,VIP
join:2008-11-05
Englewood, CO
kudos:115

Re: Give it up already

said by rebus9:

What I want to know is, why is Comcast allowed to call a 1.5 Mbps service "broadband" when the FCC defines broadband as at least 4 Mbps?

It was increased to 5Mbps last year:

»www.fiercecable.com/story/comcas ··· 13-08-13
andre2

join:2005-08-24
Brookline, MA

Don't children already get internet access at school?

I never understood the requirement that the household have school-age children. Isn't the USF supposed to ensure that they already have access at school?
ITGeeks

join:2014-04-20
Cleveland, OH

Re: Don't children already get internet access at school?

How are those students going to upload their documents/homework to the teacher at home? How are those same students going to read their eBooks and follow along with doing research?? And schools don't have enough computers for ever student. But as your case makes it- then they could go to the library, the same as those that claim that you need Internet at home to apply for a job at McD's when public libraries give it away for free- the same as McD's.
andre2

join:2005-08-24
Brookline, MA

Re: Don't children already get internet access at school?

The students can use a thumb drive to transfer data between school and home, and use a computer at home without internet if necessary. My motivation in asking the question was that some form of internet access is practically a necessity, and the requirement to have school-age children means there's no easy way for poor, non-working adults without children to get it (working adults can usually get it at work), at the same time that children will be able to get it both at school and at home.

anonymouse

@207.250.70.x

Re: Don't children already get internet access at school?

Absolutely not. Thumb drive and USB access in general is begging for the school network to get compromised by some irresponsible child who can't fathom how hard it is to manage a network full of KIDS and barely functioning teachers and keep things running well.
bcltoys

join:2008-07-21
Lost today

100%

100% coverage in area's they cover before you can have TWC.

robbyglack

@50.243.146.x

should just make it a plan option for anyone

these days 1.5 mbps is not very fast at all that should make it a limited threat to faster plans. comcast should just make this a plan option for anyone who does not have a need/desire for faster internet.

SysOp

join:2001-04-18
Douglasville, GA

1 recommendation

Re: should just make it a plan option for anyone

Better yet, set it up as a walled garden with free access for everyone to governmental and educational websties.

For access to social media, recreational, multimedia or other entertainment or infotainment sites just choose your data plan.
ITGeeks

join:2014-04-20
Cleveland, OH

Re: should just make it a plan option for anyone

What is an educational website? You do anything could be considered that right? Including PlayBoy due to they have news and articles and information regarding healthy sex? Also do blogs count as educational sites? After all those are message boards in the end. And its not really news as its normally only done by one or two people- hence DSLR would not be news/educational. Also- Youtube.com is NOT an educational website- so how is a student going to be able to look up a video on there a teacher as shared/posted on Moodle?? See the problems with that?

bigballer

@205.214.216.x
they bumped it up to 5.0 mbps a while ago

w0g
o.O

join:2001-08-30
Springfield, OR

this program doesn't meet..

the definition of broadband. currently they define broadband as 4Mbps down and 1Mbps up.

They are planning to move to 10Mbps down and hopefully bump the minimum upload to say 2.5Mbps..

I feel that Comcast doesn't even give a shit about offering these school kids anything and that the $10 rate is in fact full price when you consider that dial-up used to cost $9.95 a month for unlimited (with competition). In fact cable does not cost more to operate than dialup did years ago but due to lack of competition prices have been artificially high, generally pushing cost to $40/mo minimum but upto $75+ for high end packages for essentially the same thing with just higher transfer rates.

So Comcast is going to be charging basically a fee that is profitable .. but is capped at a rate which is not useable broadband. This is why .. and I know the FCC will probably not hear this, that if Comcast is allowed to offer this crappy package as a perk, that they be required to ad-here to the minimum definition of what broadband is to qualify the package for this merger deal.

What I also think is the cap is so infuriatingly low, because it will cripple a lot of web applications and essentially make the kids suffer, tending to make the parents have to pony up for a higher end package that actually works. IMO only the most poor of the poor families would even give a fuck about it because even our family as poor as we have been on disability/SSI and shit, could still afford nice cellphone plans and cable internet packages.
--
www.oregonstatehospital.net - CIA and state of Oregon set me up and targeted me with a microwave weapon, learn more.

w0g
o.O

join:2001-08-30
Springfield, OR

Re: this program doesn't meet..

also hope to god Comcast is chipping in free modems and routers because the true cost of this program might end up being more like $20/mo after all the rental hardware costs.
--
www.oregonstatehospital.net - CIA and state of Oregon set me up and targeted me with a microwave weapon, learn more.

FureverFurry
Premium
join:2012-02-20
Wyoming, MI
Reviews:
·Vonage
·Comcast

Amnesty ?

"The company also states they're offering an "amnesty program" for low-income users that have a past-due balance with the company, something that previously disqualified potential applicants -- given most lower income families are frequently in debt on numerous fronts. "

Amnesty ? Talk about PR spin ! Why should low income folks get a break on past due Comcast bills? There are plenty of hard-working folks and retirees who struggle and have to make the difficult choices, like cutting back and budgeting.

Yes, I realize it's tough to be poor and I have been in those circumstances in my younger days but you can't continue to live like there's no tomorrow when you only have a nickle in your pocket. Or maybe you CAN -- just ask for amnesty on all your bills.
--
Please support Great Lakes Bengal Rescue, 501c3 charity.
switchman

join:1999-11-06

1 edit

Re: Amnesty ?

said by FureverFurry:

Amnesty ? Talk about PR spin ! Why should low income folks get a break on past due Comcast bills? There are plenty of hard-working folks and retirees who struggle and have to make the difficult choices, like cutting back and budgeting.

Yes it is spin, but as I understood it, say you were late paying your bill for one month 5 years ago when you had Comcast service. You then paid you bill and dropped all of Comcasts services. Now you want to sign up again as a new customer as you have not had service in 5 years. You meet all other conditions for the plan, but the fact that you had a late payment 5 years ago disqualifies you.

If they want to offer a "Internet Essentials" package, it should be open to all customers, not just people with kids that are on a school lunch program. The offer should not be limited new customer only. I have no issue with it being a low rate, ie 1.5/.512 Mb/s.

FureverFurry
Premium
join:2012-02-20
Wyoming, MI
Reviews:
·Vonage
·Comcast

Re: Amnesty ?

said by switchman:

Yes it is spin, but as I understood it, say you were late paying your bill for one month 5 years ago when you had Comcast service. You then paid you bill and dropped all of Comcasts services. Now you want to sign up again as a new customer as you have not had service in 5 years. You meet all other conditions for the plan, but the fact that you had a late payment 5 years ago disqualifies you.

That's how it is with most creditors, however. Late payments/charge-offs ... the gift that keeps on giving via your credit report. Falls off (usually) after 7 years. I really don't like the idea of this amnesty, but I'm not in charge.
rody_44
Premium
join:2004-02-20
Quakertown, PA
Reviews:
·Comcast

1 edit

Re: Amnesty ?

I dont know where people get this stuff from. The amnesty has nothing to do with late payments. The amnesty is for people that have not been a customer for the last year and left owing comcast money. In other words if you havent been a customer for 12 months and you qualify with kids comcast will forgive the prior debt. Late payments never disqualified you for the program.

Internet essentials was never a social program for the poor and elderly on fixed income. Its comcasts way of giving back to the kids. Anyone who thinks comcast is making money on a ten dollar service needs to join the real world. The world where the average cable install costs comcast over 200 dollars just to install the service. The world where health insurance costs are between 12 and 15 hundred a month per employee. The world where just truck operating and employee expenses are nearing 50 dollars for every 15 minute service call.
elray

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

Shameless pandering...

Are we really crossing that bridge, wherein kids will be taught, not only do they deserve a free lunch, but free broadband?

Is the administration so gullible that they would celebrate this offer?

(Note: I am not opposed to the merger on legal or technical grounds.)

Denver Catbo

@71.229.161.x

1 recommendation

Re: Shameless pandering...

I guess in your world, $10 equals free?

Nah, we're not being taught kids deserve a free lunch and free broadband. We're being taught that anyone can be bought, and the price for our support, according to Comcast, is 1.5mbps worth of internet for $10. A win-win for Comcast, I think...
elray

join:2000-12-16
Santa Monica, CA

Re: Shameless pandering...

said by Denver Catbo :

I guess in your world, $10 equals free?

Did you miss the part about "amnesty", "complimentary", and "completely free service"?

Denver Catbo

@156.108.172.x

1 recommendation

Re: Shameless pandering...

We don't know if amnesty means 'you get your previous service for free'. It may be 'pay your past-due balance, and we'll wave the late fees', for all we know. It could even be as simple as 'we'll overlook your debt for the purposes of connecting the service, but we'll still try to collect said debt'. The above article, nor the referenced original post, do not address this.

'Completely free service' lasts at MOST 6 months and then it reverts to $10/month. And based on Comcast's bad habit of poor behavior, 'free' may end up costing you a modem rental fee, a service 'fee' outside of the normal $10 a month cost, a regulatory recovery fee, and/or any one of a number of other costs that make your Comcast bill advertised at $49.99 a month end up costing almost $80, or even a service contract that states you get 6 months free, but must maintain your service for a year or you get charged with an ETF which ends up being more than the $60 you'd otherwise be charged.

But in the end, the whole 'GUVMINT GIVIN TAKERS FREE STUFFS!1!' BS you were spewing is negated easily by noting...Comcast is doing this of its own accord, on the hope that its detractors stop slamming it, at least a little, and it is not motivated by government at all (Note: THE Comcast/NBC merger is long since a done deal...). IE, if it's anything, it's charity, which supposedly was the alternative the sort of folks who scream "Takers' like to push instead of government programs.
elray

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

1 edit

Re: Shameless pandering...

Us "sort of folks" (is that like "You people"?) actually like to push the concept of paying your own way, not accepting handouts of any kind. If you're "poor", then you do without, and you have an incentive to better yourself, which does not require home broadband service or a free iPad.

Comcast is doing this for PR, and throwing a bone the administration, believing they're greedy enough to seize on it, and gush at the opportunity to reward the free-lunch base.

Its sad that Comcast won't simply stand their ground, as there is no legal reason to oppose the merger.

Denver Catbo

@71.229.161.x

Re: Shameless pandering...

Yeah, I have no problem with lumping in people like you into an all inclusive group. I even have a nice one-word reply for you: Jerks. And the whole 'takers' thing goes so well with everyone out there: I mean, it won Romney the election, right?

Comcast throws a bone to the administration...for what? To get the merger through? Cluebus here for ya, buddy. the merger went through, back in 2011, so unless Comcast is working on a Time Machine to go back in the past and...I don't know, somehow make the merger go through even more, there's no reason for them to do jack now for their merger with NBC. But you're so blind with poor-bashing, you obviously didn't know that little fact, so you're on here, putting the jerk label I gave you to yourself, by preaching the whole 'go without' mantra.

But I guess that's all you have left going for you, given that you gave up on the whole 'Comcast is giving Free Stuffs' mantra to go onto Poor-Bashing. Left untouched is the point that Comcast isn't doing this for government support...it's doing it simply because it sees no detriment to itself giving away 1.5mbps internet for $10 a month to a few people it deems 'worthy', likely because 1.5mbps is a meager amount of bandwith, and that sub is $10 a month (at least) more than it would get otherwise....
elray

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

Re: Shameless pandering...

No one was bashing the poor except you.

The poor are far better off without the government "helping" them, and that includes shaking down large corporations for freebies.

The rest of us would likewise, be far better off, if we were permitted to keep our hard-earned money, rather than have it taken by force in the name of the poor.