Why this $10-per-month internet plan is so popular in Philly - Generocity Philly

Results

Aug. 13, 2018 12:50 pm

Why this $10-per-month internet plan is so popular in Philly

Comcast's Internet Essentials program serves nearly 200,000 low-income Philadelphians.

The number of people who rely on a smartphone as their primary internet connection has doubled since 2013.

(Photo courtesy of Flickr user when I was a bird, used via a Creative Commons license)

Full disclosure: Comcast NBCUniversal is a sponsor of Generocity's Tech in the Commons event series.

Editor’s note: The full content of this article was written by Billy Penn reporter Michaela Winberg. This portion appears here as part of the Broke in Philly reporting series.


Last year, the United Nations declared the internet a basic human right. Internet is also basically a requirement to participate in modern society. But for many Philadelphians, it’s just not affordable — getting internet at home would mean another monthly bill they couldn’t pay.

That explains the exploding popularity of a Comcast program called Internet Essentials.

The Philly-based cable giant announced Monday that over the past year, its initiative had surged from 4 million to 6 million people connected.

Those numbers include nearly 200,000 low-income Philadelphians. By enrolling in the seven-year-old program, these residents scored a massive discount — they pay just $10 per month for regular internet service. That’s the same price tag as when the program first started back in 2011.

The program, which Comcast says is the company’s “No. 1 community impact initiative,” targets people who are experiencing economic hardship, providing cheap internet service every month as long as you meet the qualifications. You’re eligible for the program if you:

  • Have at least one child who qualifies for the National School Lunch Program
  • Receive HUD housing assistance (this includes the Philadelphia Housing Authority)
  • Enroll in a two-year community college and receive a Pell Grant
  • Are age 62 or older and receive public assistance
  • Do not have outstanding debt to Comcast that is less than a year old (if your debt is more than a year old, you may still be eligible)
  • Live in an area where Comcast internet service is available but have not subscribed to it within the last 90 days

Alexis Floan signed up for the program from her West Philly home about four months ago. She’s 19 years old, and lives with her mother. She currently works two part-time jobs — one at the Children’s Place, and one at Chick-Fil-A.

From our Partners

Floan had trouble making ends meet, but she couldn’t go without internet — she’s a student at Delaware County Community College, and she needed it to finish her schoolwork. In the past few months, the reduced bill has lifted a weight off their shoulders.

“It’s definitely much better,” Floan said. “Everybody should try it and see if they qualify, because it is a great help.”

Floan is one of many Philadelphians who recently signed up for the program — the city’s enrollment in the program increased by 63 percent in the last year.

This is especially notable because the last time Philly tried something like this, it was a major failure.

Read the full story

(Psst, read Technical.ly Philly’s report on Internet Essentials’ expansion of benefits to low-income vets here.)

-30-
LEAVE A COMMENT

From our Partners

Community organizations lament COVID-19’s effect on Philly’s key anti-gun violence initiative

82% of Americans want paid maternity leave — making it as popular as chocolate

Recalibration of power: Building an equitable tech pipeline in Philly

SPONSORED

Generocity Philly

Beyond Literacy: Combining nearly 90 years of history into one org

Philadelphia

College Possible

Associate Development Officer

Apply Now
Philadelphia

Philabundance

Corporate Relations Officer

Apply Now
Philadelphia

Philabundance

Community Events Associate

Apply Now

An advantage of the government’s new payments for families: Not humiliating poor people

Disappearing benefit packages leave workers with chronic economic insecurity

Power moves: Andy Kang named executive director of Pennsylvania Immigration and Citizenship Coalition

SPONSORED

Generocity Philly

Inscripción Doble en Congreso: Lo que trae el futuro

Philadelphia

PACDC

Policy Director

Apply Now
2950 Potshop Road Worcester Pa 19490

Variety – the Children's Charity of the Delaware Valley

Director of Development

Apply Now
Philadelphia

The Food Trust

Director of Finance

Apply Now

Sign-up for daily news updates from Generocity