Having a reliable internet connection is critical today, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Families need a way to work and learn online, as well as access necessary services and resources. As of Sep. 2021, Comcast has expanded eligibility to all federal Pell Grant recipients in its service area.
Internet Essentials is a low-cost, high-speed internet plan available to families in financial need, helping to address the digital divide. Keep reading to learn how Internet Essentials works and how you can qualify today.
How Internet Essentials works
Internet Essentials is a low-cost internet service offered by Comcast, also known as Xfinity. Internet Essentials was founded in 2011 and has since served more than 10 million families. The basic plan costs just $9.95/mo. for download speeds of 50 Mbps, with Internet Essentials Plus offering 100 Mbps speeds for $29.95/mo. However, Internet Essentials isn’t available to everyone.
To be eligible, you’ll have to qualify for certain government assistance programs and live in an area that Comcast serves.
Who qualifies for Internet Essentials?
Internet Essentials is intended to bring affordable high-speed internet to families that need it. To be eligible for Internet Essentials, you must qualify for one of several government programs such as:
- Public housing
- NSLP/Head Start
- Federal Pell Grant
- VA pension
- Tribal assistance
When you apply for Internet Essentials, you’ll have to provide an eligibility letter from one of these programs or another document to confirm your eligibility. You’ll also need to live in an area where Comcast Internet service is available and not have had a Comcast Internet plan in the past 90 days.
What the Internet Essentials application process is like?
To apply for Internet Essentials, here are the steps you’ll have to follow:
- Make sure you qualify. Visit the Internet Essentials website to make sure you meet one of the eligibility requirements.
- Fill out your online application. You can easily sign up from your computer or mobile device. If you provide the required documentation, you may be instantly approved.
- Get approved. You’ll find out via text message, email or paper mail if you’re approved. If Comcast needs additional documentation for you, you’ll be able to take a picture and upload it to your application.
- Get online. Once you’ve been approved, your internet connection can be up and running within five to seven business days. You’ll receive an internet modem and Wi-Fi router with step-by-step instructions.
The application can only be completed online. If you don’t currently have access to the internet, you can use a smartphone or the internet connection at a local library to apply. If necessary, you can take a break from your application and come back to it later.
Get a discounted laptop through Internet Essentials
In addition to low-cost internet, Internet Essentials also comes with other benefits for its customers. When you sign up, you’ll have the option to purchase a discounted computer for $149.99 through a Comcast partner. You can choose between computers such as a Google Chromebook and Dell Latitude, which you can order through the Internet Essentials website.
Emergency broadband relief aid applies to this program
During the COVID-19 pandemic, several measures were put into place to help make internet plans more accessible for families in need. Through the federal government’s Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), families can receive a temporary subsidy on their internet plans.
Credits are up to $30/mo., or $75/mo. for households on tribal lands, meaning Internet Essentials customers can receive their internet service for no cost. If you’re a new Internet Essentials customer, you’ll have to first sign up for service. Current customers automatically qualify and simply need to enroll.
Comcast has also taken other steps to serve Internet Essentials customers during the pandemic. For example, with more families working and learning from home, Comcast increased the speed for the base Internet Essentials plan from 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload to 50 Mbps download and 5 Mbps upload.
The bottom line
Thanks to Comcast’s Internet Essentials, internet service doesn’t have to be a significant cost burden for American families. As long as you live in a Comcast service area and meet the qualification requirements, you can receive internet service for just $9.95/mo. You can also take advantage of other perks, such as a discounted computer and a temporary internet subsidy. To get started, simply visit the Internet Essentials website.
Written by:Erin Gobler
Erin Gobler is a freelance writer based in Madison, WI. She writes about topics including budgeting, student loans, credit, mortgages, investing, broadband and insurance. Including Allconnect.com, her work has b… Read more
Edited by:Robin Layton
Editor, Broadband Content
- FeaturedDigital divide: Organizations that are helping bridge the gap Joe Supan — 6 min read
- FeaturedA community guide to advocating for better broadband services Ari Howard — 7 min read
- Featured10 questions you should ask before choosing an internet service Ari Howard — 7 min read
Tuesday, September 27, 2022Guide to 5G spectrum bands
Robin Layton — 3 min read
Tuesday, September 27, 2022$502M awarded for rural high-speed internet connections
Robin Layton — 2 min read
Thursday, September 22, 2022The U.S. has the 6th fastest internet speed in the world, but many are still left behind
Joe Supan — 4 min read