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Availability of low-cost Internet and a computer for low-income families

03/10/13

Permalink 08:41:52 am, by Paul ROBINSON, 403 words   English (US)
Categories: Announcements [A]

Availability of low-cost Internet and a computer for low-income families

Comcast Cable is offering a special service for low-income families to obtain broadband internet for $9.95 a month. If they have a child in school that is eligible for the free lunch program, or if they have a child in a private school or is being home schooled, who would be eligible for the free lunch program if they went to a public school, they can get broadband internet from Comcast for $9.95 a month. This is not a demonstration or short-term offering, the price will not be increased. The program is called "Internet Essentials" and is available to any Comcast customer who qualifies under the above guideline.

If they don't have a computer, they can get a Dell or Acer netbook for $150. There is also a plan to arrange with a computer recycling company to get desktop computers at a similar low price for families who would rather have a desktop instead of a netbook. A Vice President of Comcast appeared to talk about it on a public interest show on Sunday, March 10, 2013 broadcast on WRC-TV 4, the Washington, DC NBC affiliate, which, as part of NBC Universal, is majority owned by Comcast.

This plan has been offered by Comcast for about 18 months, and has signed up about 150,000 customers, which potentially provides internet access in the home to about 600,000 people who otherwise would not have it. The Comcast executive told about one woman who met him at a meeting in Chicago and told him how she took advantage of this offering for her daughter, who has since been accepted to college as a result of having this in the home and allowing her to take college preparation course on-line, but more than that, as a result of the Internet being accessible in her home, the woman herself decided to take some on-line classes and is herself planning to become a teacher, which requires a college degree, something she could not have done had they not had Internet access in their home.

Much as I find things I don't like about Comcast, this is one really good idea. My understanding is as much as 80% of teachers give assignments in school that require internet access to complete. This is a big handicap for kids whose families otherwise can't afford Internet access or a computer. So if you know of someone or can think of where someone can use this, please pass it on.

The website is Internetessentials.com.

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