Most Americans especially low income and those in rural areas don’t seem to be very happy with the American Internet Industry. Some of them claim that the internet is too slow, others it’s unreliable and to make it worse it’s the most expensive industry in the world. Research clearly shows that when compared to the rest of the World, Americans pay more for Internet. According to PBS and Open Technology Institute, the speeds and Internet prices are higher in some locations than others. So what makes Internet expensive and are there chances that Internet Service Providers are sensitive to this?
Huge barriers to entry for new ISPs is the first reason why people in some areas pay more for internet. Giant providers that are already established dominate the market. It also takes a lot of time and money to enter the market. The existing ISPs are already powerful and dominant making it relatively expensive to get into the market. With that said, some Internet service providers such as Comcast Xfinity seem to be taking this matter into consideration. Comcast Xfinity introduced Internet Essential at a low cost of $10 for qualifying families. In this regard, we want to understand what is Comcast Internet essential, the speeds, who qualifies and the prices.
What is Comcast Internet essential?
Internet essential is an Internet adoption program by American giant Internet service provider, Comcast for low-income families. The service was well-rounded to include all the families with school-going children. It includes Internet Wi-Fi and gives low-income families the ability to access a learning center. The program contains the following:
Speeds of up to 15Mbps download speeds and 2Mbps upload speeds. This speed is quite enough for basic Internet usage. The qualifying households will only have to pay $9.95 per month for such Internet speeds.
One time option to buy a computer at $150. This basically includes all the qualifying families. The family can choose to get a laptop or a computer for the students at a cost lower of $150.
Free Training programs. The package also comes with a free training program that helps the families get familiar with Internet basics. There are also classroom-based programs at no additional costs.
Internalizing the effects of a Pandemic
Since the start of 2020, Comcast Internet essential has collaborated with numerous schools to internalize the effects of Covid-19. The pandemic has seen many workers and students move online for their studies and work. But for some of the low income families, internet access has highly been a challenge. Comcast Internet essential relies on the public-private partnership to enable qualifying families connect to the internet. New Internet essential subscribers also get a two months free internet access. In 2020, Comcast has partnered with schools in Portland, Arlington, Atlanta, Chicago, Sacramento and Pittsburgh to connect K-12 students.
Internet essential fees and additional costs
After qualifying for the program, the family will not be expected to pay for any installation or activation fees. However, they will have to be on the qualifying blanket for this program. There are also no equipment rental fees for this Internet service. The only additional cost that may accrue is the applicable taxes on the monthly fee and the computer. Additionally, this service only supports a single outlet and if you want additional outlets, you will definitely be charged for that. You may also end up paying for custom installation if you want additional outlets.
Who is eligible for Internet essential?
The Internet Essential program is divided into different types of qualifying groups. There’s Internet essential for low-income families, Internet essential for Housing Assistance Program, Internet Essential Veterans program, Internet Essential senior program and Internet essential for Community College program. The last program is only available in Colorado and Illinois. For the Philadelphia residents that participate in Federal Assistance programs, there’s a broadband access trial for them.
For each of the above programs, the eligibility factors vary. But there are still some factors that determine who qualifies for the program and who doesn’t qualify. Here is additional information to determine whether you qualify or not.
For you to qualify, you should reside in the stated areas where Comcast Internet services are available. Additionally, you should not have any overdue Comcast bills outstanding for 12 months. Qualifying individuals should not have any unreturned pieces of equipment for the last one year. Lastly, it’s Comcast that will decide when there will be enrollment periods for every year.
There are chances that you will be requested for further documentations but that mainly depends on the program that you want to enrol in. Here is the list of documentation that is required per program;
For the low-Income families seeking to apply for this program, they will be required to prove that at least one child in the family is eligible for the National School lunch program. This status will have to be confirmed every year. For the Housing Assistance application, there should be eligible documents that prove they are participating in public housing. There’s also need to have the residential lease agreement, rent statement and a rent letter from your landlord. All these documents should be from the previous or the current year. All the documents should include clear names and addresses and it should also have the Housing Authority.
In the case of the veterans applying for the Comcast Internet essential, there should be enough documentation that the person in question has the veteran status and a receipt of qualifying state and Federal assistance on an annual basis. Seniors only need proof that they are above 62 years and show that they are eligible for the public assistance and the federal assistance program. Community college applicants will have to provide proof that they are enrolled in a Community College in the stated States and lastly for the Philadelphia applicants, there should be proof that one lives in the city of Philadelphia and participates in the Federal Assistance Programs.
Internet Essential Internet speeds
The internet speeds for specific programs may vary depending on the location and several other factors. However, in most situations, the Internet Essential plan comes with Download speeds of up to 15Mbps and upload speeds of up to 2Mbps. However, on 12th March 2020, Comcast announced a scale up to the existing Internet speeds. The Company announced that it will increase speeds of the Internet essential plans to support residents that are mainly impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic. The speeds are expected to increase from 15Mbps download and 2Mbps Upload to 25Mbps download and 3Mbps upload speeds for all the new and existing customers. New families that will eligibly be enrolled to the program will get 60 days of free Internet access.
How to apply for Internet Essential program
The application process is simple and doesn’t take long for approvals. The application is facilitated through the Comcast Internet website. Here are some simple processes that you can follow to apply;
- Basic Information-You will be required to give some basic information about yourself, including Phone Number, name and address.
- Personal information-Now you will be required to provide your birth date, social security number and several other information such as the promo codes. For people that don’t have the Social Security Number, they can alternatively take photos holding their ID. After that, bring the ID to the nearby Xfinity store.
- Essential Steps: This process lets you choose the Internet Essential program that you are applying for and eventually upload your documents.
- Check and confirm your details-Before you confirm, make sure all the details are correct. It’s important to double check every detail as a way of confirming. Now upload the details and send your application.
If you need any more information with the application process, you can easily call the Customer support through the official number: 1-855-846-8376. The number is also used to confirm eligibility and applications. After everything is done, you should wait for an email from Comcast Xfinity with details concerning the status of the application.
The welcome Kit
Every approved user will get the welcome kit and all the equipment within a week. The welcome kit is delivered directly through the mail and has all the instructions on how to setup the wireless gateway and how to activate it.
How to get the Internet Essential- approved Low-cost Computer
Every applicant that qualifies for the program can equally get a computer from CDI computers. This is available as a one-time offer per household. You can choose between a personal computer with an LCD monitor or a laptop. Here are the minimum requirements that are guaranteed for the devices.
- 4GB RAM
- Intel Duo Core 2 and Intel Core 13 for Desktops and laptops respectively
- 120GB HDD
- Wi-Fi for laptops only
- 17” LCD screen for Desktop
- MS Office
Common problems and Controversy with Internet Essential plans
It’s very important to familiarize yourself with common problems and controversies that you are likely to encounter when applying and getting approved for the Internet Essential programs. For people that are already on the Comcast Internet access, you will have to cancel the current service and wait for almost 90 days before you sign up for the Internet Essential plan. This proves that it’s very frustrating to go without internet for 90 days in the name of getting the Internet essential cheap internet.
Another thing, the Internet Essential program is not supported through Government taxes. It’s focused on Comcast providing low income families with internet access. For that reason, you might end up paying more for the internet access.
The Internet Essential Learning Center
All students qualifying for the program will get access to the Internet Essential Learning Center. This covers everything they need to know concerning how to access the web in a secure and responsible manner. The lessons in this category are skimmable presentations, videos and Posts. The learners will start with Internet access basics including using the free emails, social media platforms and browsing. After this, they will be introduced to other types of internet and computer use.
Is Comcast Internet Essential Unlimited?
Yes, Comcast Internet essential is unlimited and you can get more than 5Mbps of internet speed for just 10$ every month. The main purpose of Internet Essential from Comcast is to help children and students in families without Internet. For that reason, the speed is enough for the students to get online and access the learning materials.
Who qualifies for Comcast Internet essential?
Comcast Internet essential is for households that have at least one kid eligible for the National School Lunch Program. This is for all students in a variety of educational settings such as the private, public, cyber schools, Home schools and charter schools.
Can you watch Netflix with Internet essential?
Yes, Internet essential from Comcast is enough to stream movies and TV shows from Hulu, Amazon and Netflix. However, the main reason why this internet plan is available is to help children in school to access internet for their learning purposes.
How do I get Comcast Low-income Internet?
If you qualify for Comcast Low-income Internet, you can easily apply through the Customer service number: 1-855-542-6651. The company offers Internet essential programs that allows all the qualifying households to purchase an Internet plan for as low as $10 per month. The program is mainly to help seniors, low income families and students.
The Internet Essential Program is a good option for low income users that want to be connected to the internet. It’s even better that Comcast Xfinity Internet Essential program has been scaled to 25Mbps download speeds and 3Mbps upload speeds. This is great news for qualifying individuals that wants to stream Live sports, Videoconferences and stream movies and TV shows. Users are also eligible for a good Laptop or computer and at the same time get access to the Internet Essential eLearning Center. This is the best bonus in one Whole package that we have come across in the Internet Industry.