Comcast Corporation (NASDAQ:CMCSA) has revealed plans to expand its low-cost internet for low-income earning households. The company stated that it will offer its internet service to Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) households regardless of whether they have children or not.
Comcast previously made its internet services available to families whose children were qualified for standardized school lunches. The company formed Internet Essentials in 2011 so that it could secure the acquisition of NBCUniversal. The requirement expired in 2014 but Comcast decided to continue with the service. The firm claims that more than 600,000 low-income families have benefited from the 10 Mbps plan. The project has also provided subsidized computers priced at $150.
Some claim that the application process for the project is too hard to sign up for users. This is partly because it was initially available to families with school-going children. The expansion of the program involves teaming up with the Department of Housing and Urban Development to identify and make the service available to adults in HUD-assisted homes who do not have any children. The new changes mean that now there are 2 million HUD-assisted homes that currently qualify for the Internet Essentials program thanks to an additional 1.3 million homes.
Low-income families will still have to meet various requirements for them to receive the service. Customers who have unpaid debts to the company for a period less than 1 year will not be eligible for the service. The company also claims that users who are already subscribed to other Comcast internet plans will not be eligible for Internet Essentials.
The company claims that the new changes mark the ninth time that Internet Essentials eligibility has been expanded. Nevertheless, the program is a vital tool that can be used to offer more as far as education and other opportunities are concerned. It could help to narrow the digital divide between low and high income earning households. It could also end up being a waste of taxpayer money if managed inefficiently.