In an attempt to broaden internet access, Comcast announced that it will begin providing inexpensive web access to low-income families. The company, which offers internet services in 39 states, is launching a new plan called “Internet Essentials,” which will cost low-income families only $10 a month. Households could also receive a voucher to buy a computer for less than $150.
To receive the discounted services, families would have to meet certain criteria, including having a child enrolled in the National School Lunch Program, but it could have a big impact. According to the Miami Herald, about 60 percent of the 300,000 students in Miami-Dade’s public schools would qualify.
The move was not entirely altruistic on Comcast’s part; after acquiring NBC Universal earlier this year, regulators required Comcast to help low-income families get online before they would approve the merger. But regardless of whether the idea was Comcast’s or the regulators, it’s clear that this is going to help families, particularly those from African-American and Hispanic communities.
“Broadband, fast Internet access for these kids is not just a luxury,” said Miami-Dade Superintendent Alberto Carvalho. “It is a moral imperative. It is an economic driver for their own personal success.”
Bridging the digital divide is certainly a challenge. But programs like these will help bring internet access to people who may now view it as a luxury. Comcast is promoting the service on websites in English and in Spanish – if you qualify, or know someone who might, check it out!
Photo from LaMenta3 via flickr.