Comcast announced today that 100K families have signed up for their low cost Internet service known as Internet Essentials. Comcast claims this translates to the service reaching 400K people. The program offers a 3 Mbps connection to disadvantaged families for $9.95 per month (not including taxes and fees).
Households with children eligible to receive reduced price school lunches under the National School Lunch Program are eligible for the program and Comcast reports that represents 2.3 million eligible families. The service also provides a discounted computer for $150 through a voucher program.
Comcast started this program in May of 2011. The program was mandated by regulators to gain approval of Comcast’s acquisition of NBCUniversal. The mandate stated that Comcast needs to provide the service for at least three years, or by the end of the 2013-2014 school year. Comcast says they will continue to provide the service to these eligible households, provided the household signs up during this three year period and a student who is eligible for the reduced meal program is present in the household.
The program is seen as a model for the FCC sponsored Connect2Compete (C2C) program, which several other broadband service providers have committed to join. C2C aims to reach 86% of all U.S. households.