Comcast Internet Essentials Review: $10/Month High Speed Internet For Low Income Families

Updated with new sign-up promo and debt-forgiveness program. Comcast recently announced that they are continuing their Internet Essentials program that provides high-speed internet service for $9.95 a month + taxes, a subsidized $150 computer, and free digital literacy training to eligible low-income families. Specifically, you get their XFINITY Economy Internet Service for $9.95 per month with no activation or equipment rental charges.

Comcast will also include up to six months of complimentary service for any new family that has not yet applied for Internet Essentials. Families who are approved for Internet Essentials between August 4th and September 20th, 2014 will receive up to six months of Internet service.

Qualification details:

  • Be located where Comcast offers Internet service.
  • Have at least one child receiving free school lunches through the National School Lunch Program. If I read the income guidelines for the NSLP correctly, a family of 4 within the contiguous 48 states can’t make more than $31,005 a year to get free lunches.
  • Have not subscribed to Comcast Internet service within the last 90 days.
  • If you have a unpaid balance with Comcast that is less than a year old, you’ll need to work out a payment plan. Debts over a year old will be forgiven for a limited time.

This program is not supported with government taxes. Instead, it was a condition of the FCC’s approval of Comcast’s merger with NBC Universal, and now they are extending it because they want to merge with Time Warner Cable. Comcast states that if the merger goes through, they will expand access to all Time Warner coverage areas. They also state that over 300,000 families have signed up since this started in 2011.

(And yes, I know, Comcast has had customer service issues. Is that really shocking?)

Official announcement, via The Verge.


  1. Wow thanks for the tip Jon! I know a few families who can definitely benefit from this. I’ll definitely pass the word.

  2. Just an update for anyone who cares. A family friend told me that all she had to do was call the comcast essentials number and request an application from them. She used to have comcast a few years ago so her info was apparently still available. She did not have to provide additional info. She was mailed the application a week later. The application is quick but requires paper documentation that a child is getting free lunch at school.

  3. The way Comcast treats people, they should offer this to everyone.
    Also, what if you don’t have children?
    BTW, internet is not “essential”. The human race got along fine without it for quite awhile!

    • Cooper's Dad says:

      Chris, I initially had a similar reaction.
      However, families or individuals on government assistance programs increasingly are required to interface with them online…to apply, submit information required to maintain eligibility, or simply to download forms to submit the old-fashioned way that you allude to. While it’s possible to go online from public locations such as libraries and schools, it’s often not a practical option for families where the parent (or parents if they are fortunate) aren’t working two jobs or shuttling between work, daycare/schools and home.
      In 2014, for all of us, including low income households, in-home access to the Internet IS essential.

    • Kids need it for school because homework alot of the time has to be done with a computer and you can’t use a computer without internet. This is a new day and era we live in and internet is an essential if you plan on doing anything. In case you didn’t realize most applications are done online.

  4. “” since this started in 2011. “” I’d been with Comcast for the entire 20 yrs I’ve been in Atlanta. Seems about 2012, Comcast became more ruthless about discounting/promo-ing to existing customers, at least to me. The past few yrs, they would discount me upon my request, but then go up even more when the short promo ended. It got so bad, that I just cancelled and went to Uverse a few months ago. I didnt know about the ‘Essentials’ program, but I now know who is paying/subsidizing it…every Comcast customer.

    FYI, yes, my Uverse sucks, its slower, but cheaper, and its raining here now, so tv and internet dropped out for over an hour, and just came back on.

    Grass is greener, ….where?

  5. I just called Comcast for the process. Yes I currently have service in the home and my children need it for school but since I have to cancel my service till I go threw the complete application process which can take 3-4 weeks I was very discourage to process my application. I have 3 children that use the internet daily but having to wait 3-4 weeks without any inter, cable or home phone is not what I would expect from them!

  6. OK so when I first heard of this program and I immediately thought it was absolutely amazing, now 4 months in still waiting for service instillation and just receive a turn of notice for a service that was never installed. I am over this sure a waste of my time

  7. The customer service is horrendous and terrible.
    You must have patience if you want to participate with this.
    The reps are in Costa Rica and I have made over 10 calls from everything from
    applying, getting the equipment and now waiting on a service technician.
    They are unorganized..and it makes you wonder if they can understand you or if they are just “parrot-ing back” everything you say….VERY VERY Frustrating. Enough to contemplate whether or not the service is worth it. You may end up with a visit to the doctor with the high blood pressure issues they create.
    Oh and talking to a “supervisor” ? seems like it is an impossible task. Not sure they even exist in their call center.

  8. T Flakes says:

    Update: the sign up process is now all online: Although I have a child that qualifies for the free lunch program in school, I did not have to prove it. Nor was I asked to prove my child was in school.

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