Do you know a child who could really benefit from having access to the Internet? We're asking you to reach out to them and let them know about the Comcast Internet Essentials programs. This is the second year of the program, which provides low-cost Internet service ($9.95 a month) to families with children who meet the need requirements.
If a child receives free school lunches or lunches for a reduced price, they may qualify for this program.
Families may also be eligible for a low-cost computer -- $149.99 plus tax and free Internet training online and in person.
Below you'll find more information about Internet Essentials and how to determine if a child is eligible.
You can also call to get more information -- 1-855-846-8376 -- or hop online at InternetEssentials.com
Questions and Answers
What is Internet Essentials?
Internet Essentials is an ambitious and comprehensive broadband adoption experiment. It addresses the three primary barriers to broadband adoption that research has identified -- 1) a lack of understanding of how the Internet is relevant and useful; 2) the cost of a home computer and, 3) the cost of Internet service. Offered to low-income families with children who receive free or reduced price school lunches through the National School Lunch Program, Internet Essentials is available in more than 4,000 school districts in 39 states plus the District of Columbia. The effort helps close the digital divide and ensures more Americans benefit from all the Internet has to offer. While participating in Internet Essentials, customers receive:
- Residential Internet service for $9.95 per month plus tax
- No price increases, no activation fees and no equipment rental fees
- A low-cost computer available at the initial enrollment for just $149.99 plus tax
- Access to free digital literacy training -- online, in print and in-person
Who is Eligible to participate in Internet Essentials?
To be eligible to participate in Internet Essentials, a household must:
- Have at least one child who receives free or reduced price school lunches through the National School Lunch Program
- (as an example, according to the Department of Agriculture, a household of three would have to make less than $25,000 a year in income.)
- Be located in an area where Comcast offers Internet service
- Not be the subject of Comcast collections activity; and
- Have not subscribed to Comcast Internet service within 90 days of installation
How many households are expected to participate in Internet Essentials?
We estimate that the number of eligible households, within the Comcast services area, with children receiving free school lunches through the National School Lunch Program is slightly more than two million. We have also expanded the eligibility criteria to include households with at least one child who receives reduced price school lunches through the NSLP. This expansion, beginning in the second quarter of 2012, will make nearly 300,000 additional households in our service area eligible for Internet Essentials -- bringing the total to 2.3 million eligible families.
How do eligible families find out about Internet Essentials?
Comcast has already promoted the program through a whole host of ways and will continue to promote the program. We've asked local school authorities across the country to include information about Internet Essentials in their back to school mailings to parents. We're continuing to work with elected officials and community-based organizations to spread the word about Internet Essentials to families and communities. In major markets, we have run PSAs and print ads and have hosted press conferences with local officials. We're continuing to spread awareness via print and online outlets as well as TV and radio. Those interested can also access a general information website at their local library or Internet cafe at InternetEssentials.com for English or visit InternetBasico.com for Spanish. Educator or third-parties interested in helping to spread the word can find more information at InternetEssentials.com/partner.
How do eligible families sign up for Internet Essentials?
Families will receive notice about Internet Essentials at the beginning of the school year. Eligible families will be directed to a dedicated toll-free number to get the process started with specially-trained representatives on hand to answer their calls and ensure that the household meets basic qualifications. if eligible, the famly will be contacted by a third party company to verify they have a child receiving free or reduced price school lunches and to complete the application process.
What is the toll-free number for Internet Essentials information?
The toll-free number is 1-855-8-INTERNET (1-855-846-8376). Spanish speakers can call 1-855-SOLO-955 (1-855-765-6995).
What is the digital literacy training component?
Internet Essentials participants have access to in-person, print and web-based digital literacy training programs. Training helps to ensure participants know basic computer skills such as how to access the Internet and email, and how to protect their privacy and the safety of their children online. Comcast is working with national partners like One Economy, LULAC, the National urban League, Common Sense Media and others to ensure we have the best digital literacy materials available to Internet Essentials customers. We're also working with more than 1,000 community-based partners to identify the best locations for in-person training. Locations vary by market and may include tech centers, community centers, libraries and schools. We've also developed an Internet Essentials Online Learning Center, which serves as a central hub of online digital literacy training materials, providing easy access to a simple curriculum to help families improve their digital literacy. The website is available in both English (InternetEssentials.com/learning) and Spanish (InternetBasico.com/aprender), and users can find tutorials on how to set up email, protect themselves and their families from viruses and other malware, keep children safe, locate useful resources for anything from professional growth the healthcare and find Comcast support for service issues. The Internet Essentials Online Learning Center is continuously updated with additional content and links for more training resources.
Where is Internet Essentials available?
Internet Essentials is available everywhere that Comcast offers Internet service -- in 39 states plus the District of Columbia.
What software is pre-installed on the computers?
The computers have the windows 7 Starter operating system with pre-installed web browser software and basic productivity software. All participants, including those who do not purchase a computer ,are able to receive Norton security software. Additional software may be available with computers, bur is subject to availability and may vary by purchaser. In addition, our vendor partner, Seneca, provides end-to-end customer service including sales, technical support, and warranty coverage, according to their standard policies.