Cable Operators

Comcast Expands ‘Internet Essentials’ Effort

8/08/2011 12:01 AM Eastern

Comcast staged events
in Miami and Delaware last week
to promote its broadband offering
for low-income families —
Internet Essentials — a 1.5-Mbps
downstream service priced at
$9.95 per month that it is required
to offer under the FCC conditions
on the NBCUniversal deal.

Comcast hosted a similar
event in Chicago in May, with
an appearance by Chicago Mayor
Rahm Emanuel, to publicize
the federally mandated program
there.

The Internet Essentials package
can be ordered anywhere
in Comcast’s service areas by
calling 1-855-8-INTERNET. The
operator is conducting a publicrelations
campaign over the next
few weeks in markets across the
country to raise awareness of
the Internet Essentials package,
a Comcast spokeswoman said.

Internet Essentials — which
Comcast is required to offer
through the end of the 2013-14
school year — is available to lowincome
families with children
who are eligible to receive a free
school lunch as part of their enrollment
in the National School
Lunch Program (NSLP). According
to the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture,
a household of three would
have to make less than $25,000
per year to qualify for the program.

The Comcast program also
provides a voucher to purchase
a computer for $149.99 plus tax
and access to free digital literacy
training in print, online and
in person.

In Delaware, Comcast enlisted
Gov. Jack Markell to help promote
Internet Essentials in the
state.

“Access to the Internet is important
for Delaware parents
looking for jobs or researching
the best options for their families.
Young people who enter the
work world already computer literate have a head start
in this digital economy,” Gov. Markell said in prepared
remarks. “I commend Comcast for this effort to bring
broadband access into more homes and expand access to
computer and digital literacy. Delaware is proud to participate.”

In Miami, Comcast executive vice president David Cohen
announced that Internet Essentials will be rolled out
in more than 4,000 school districts in 39 states and the District
of Columbia. He noted that Internet Essentials is especially
relevant to the Hispanic community given that
Hispanic children make up 32% of all children receiving
free lunches through the NSLP.

The Internet Essentials package, which provides 1.5
Mbps downstream and 384 Kbps upstream, includes the
Norton Security Suite for no additional cost, which is a
$160 value, according to Comcast.

September