Comcast initiative: "Lifeline" Internet access, $10/month for low income residents with schoolchildren
Regarding the so called "digital divide," where lower income people have limited access to fee-based services such as Internet service, Comcast, the nation's largest cable television company (with interests both in providing cable services to customers as well as in programming, including NBC), is providing a $10/month Internet service to households with children qualifying for free lunch at their local school. See "Comcast to offer $10 Internet access" from the Los Angeles Times Technology blog. This is one of the conditions imposed on Comcast as a result of their merger with NBC/Universal.
-- "The Digital Divide: Where We Are/A status report on the digital divide," Edutopia
-- Chicago Digital Access Alliance
From the article:
The media and communications giant's Internet Essentials plan provides Internet access at speeds of 1.5 Mbps (megabits per second) and also offers other qualifying customers a netbook computer for $149.99 when signing up for the service.
To qualify, families must live in an area covered by Comcast and have at least one child who receives free school lunches through the National School Lunch Program.
The $10 Internet plan comes after the Federal Communications Commission ordered Comcast to offer affordable Internet access for low-income families following its purchase of NBC Universal in January. ...
Along with the $9.95 low monthly rate and the $149.99 netbook, the plan also offers qualifying families access to free Internet training and promises "No price increases, no activation fees and no equipment rental fees," according to a Comcast Web page.