Low cost Internet access and computers.

Certain cable and Internet providers are providing low cost access to individuals or families with children that meet certain income qualifications. The federal government and the FCC have been partnering with organizations, such as Comcast, in an effort to expand the reach of the Internet to households that may not have otherwise been able to afford the service on their own.

In addition to offering programs such as Internet Essentials for households with children, some families may even be able to receive a low cost computer from Comcast. Other programs may also help eliminate any past due fees or bills that the customer is currently faced with. Also, there have been periods of time when free internet access has been available for a defined period of time. So there are number of resources available for income qualified families, as having access to the Internet is a critical utility type service that all families should be entitled too.

Companies that offer reduced priced Internet access or inexpensive computers

With over one million people enrolled nationwide, the Internet Essentials program from Comcast is the largest by far. There are a number of conditions that need to be met by applicants as this is a regular utility type company, and the terms of the program can also change at any time. Some of them include the following.

This service will only be available in territories that Comcast covers. So the applicant to the program needs to live where they can provide service too. So if you are only covered by Time Warner, Verizon, or another provider, you will need to call those companies for any assistance they may offer.

The reduced prices will only be provided to families that have one or more children enrolled into the National School Lunch Program. If someone has not enrolled into this program, but think they may qualify, now is the time to enroll the student.




In order to receive the low cost access to the Internet, the customer can’t be a current Comcast subscriber. The timeframe will normally be for the last 3 months, but this can change as well.

In general, there can’t have any outstanding bills on their account. However, there have been periods of time in which this condition has been waived. There are even cases in which Comcast has eliminated any past due fees, charges, or debts on the customers cable account in order to help with the enrollment process.





While the pricing can change, if found to be qualified, the monthly charge for their high speed Internet access could be as low as $9 to $11 per month. There may be constraints on the download speeds, but it will still be much faster than a dial up or some other type of connection.

Some promotions may be occasionally available as well that can provide other benefits to families. There have been instances in which the high speed Internet service has been provided completely for free for a period of time, such as 6 months. This will usually be for new customers that just enrolled and will also come with other conditions.

This Internet Essentials service is being offered due to some regulations put into place by the FCC in dealing with Comcast and other utility or cable companies. It is intended to ensure that children from lower income or working poor families have access to the Internet for school, research, and other needs. Another benefit is that their parents could also use the service for employment or job seeking needs, such as working from home or taking online classes.

Comcast will even offer some other programs from time to time, such as distributing low cost computers. Many of the same terms and conditions as above will apply, such as the home needs to have a child, meet low income or poverty guidelines, and more. The computer may be sold for as little as a couple hundred dollars, and when combined with the low cost Internet access, this can truly benefit a family.

The computer will also come with software, such as Microsoft Office, and Comcast will even arrange some form of training for the customer. It is configured so the family can connect to the Internet right away with as little hassle as possible. The availability of this program can also help students that would otherwise go without availability of a computer during the back to school period.

For more information on affordable Internet access or a low cost computer from Comcast through the Essential program, call 1-855-846-8376. Or call your own utility or cable company or other Internet provider to inquire with them if they offer similar services.




Another company to contact is CenturyLink. This provider will offer discounted high speed service to very low income families or those that receive public aid. It operates under many of the same terms and conditions as noted above, and learn more on CenturyLink Internet Basics discounted service.


By Jon McNamara

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