Internet Essentials, the low-cost broadband Internet program from Comcast, was launched in Philadelphia Tuesday, after first launching in Chicago in May.
Making good on another of the many commitments Comcast made to the FCC in seeking approval of its majority-stake acquisition of NBC Universal last fall, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts and Mayor Michael Nutter were on hand to officially announce the program at the Salvation Army’s Kroc Center in Nicetown. The Internet Essentials program allows low-income families to obtain Internet service at a rate less than what Comcast normally charges.
In addition to Chicago and Philadelphia, Internet Essentials has launched in Georgia, Delaware and Miami.
To be eligible for Internet Essentials, a family must have a child receiving free school lunches under the National School Lunch Program. If they qualify, they can receive Internet access for $9.95 (plus taxes) a month without any activation fees or paying for a router, which comes free with the service. The service is an 80 percent discount from what Comcast normally charges, $49 a month for broadband Internet service, plus any fees. Participants in the program also receive a $150 voucher for a laptop from either Acer or Dell.
The program offers connection speeds of just up to 1.5 Mbps download and 384k upload, which wouldn’t do much for streaming videos but would be fine for basic browsing, as Yahoo News reported.
Mayor Nutter said this was a necessary program to help the estimated 230,000 Philadelphia households that do not have Internet access, which puts them at a disadvantage from those that do.
“If you don’t have access to the Internet, you’re already behind,” Nutter said.
Below watch Nutter speak about the importance of Internet access.