What is Internet Essentials?
A new plan called Internet Essentials is now available wherever Comcast offers Internet service. The plan is intended to help low-income households get online and includes training to help people learn how to use the resource and a voucher to buy a computer for $149.99 (plus tax). Training is available online, in writing, or in person.
Who is eligible for the program?
To qualify for the program, you must have at least one student in your household who receives free school lunch under the National School Lunch Program. (If you receive reduced-cost lunch, you will not be eligible.) For the 2011-12 school year, a family of four making $29,055 a year would qualify. The program is scheduled to accept applications for at least three years. Once you are approved, you should continue to be eligible as long as you continue to have a child who receives free lunch.
You must also meet the following requirements:
- You must live in an area where Comcast offers Internet service;
- You must not have subscribed to Comcast Internet service within the last 90 days;
- You must not have an overdue Comcast bill or unreturned equipment.
How much does it cost?
The program will provide families with training and Internet service for $9.95 a month (plus taxes) with no equipment fee or price increases.
How do I sign up?
More information is available in English and Spanish. If you cannot access the website, call 1-855-8-INTERNET (English) or 1-855-SOLO-995 (Spanish) to request an application. They will mail an application to you and you will need to complete it and send it back to them.
How else can I access the Internet if I am not eligible for Internet Essentials?
Many schools, community centers, and public libraries offer free Internet service. If you do not have your own computer, or cannot afford to pay for the Internet connection, you should check around in your community to see if any of these groups offer service.
This article originally appeared in the September 2011 issue of Looking Out for Your Legal Rights®.
This information last reviewed 10/25/11.