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Comcast Offers Six Months' Free 'Internet Essentials'

Comcast said today it would give six months of free Internet service, under its Internet Essentials program, to any new family that applies for the program. Families who are approved for Internet Essentials between Aug. 4 and Sept 20 will receive up to six months of Internet service.

Comcast also said it would offer amnesty for certain low-income families that could qualify for the broadband service but have a past-due balance. Customers who have an outstanding bill that is more than a year old are now eligible for Internet Essentials, as long as they meet other eligibility criteria.

Internet Essentials provides broadband service (up to 5 megabits per second downloads, up to 1 Mbps uploads) from Comcast for $9.95 a month plus tax and the option to buy an Internet-ready computer for less than $150, plus access to free digital literacy training in print, online and in-person. Eligible families must have at least one child eligible to participate in the National School Lunch Program, including public, parochial, private and homeschooled students. Comcast started the program in 2011 and said it has connected more than 350,000 families, or about 1.4 million low-income Americans. It's offered in 39 states and the District of Columbia.

Comcast said in a release it will promote the six-months-free offer via public service announcements as part of a back-to-school campaign. Executive vice president David Cohen announced the program enhancements at Peyton Forrest Elementary School in Atlanta along with Georgia First Lady Sandra Deal.