Internet Essentials is an internet adoption program by Comcast XFINITY for low-income families. It’s a well-rounded service that includes low-cost high-speed internet with included Wi-Fi, ability to purchase a low-cost computer, and access to a learning center! Let’s delve into more about it:
What’s Included in Internet Essentials
The Internet Essentials program includes the following:
- Internet connection with up to 15 Mbps download speeds and up to 2 Mbps upload speed for just $9.95 per month.
- The Internet Essentials program also offers a one-time option to buy a computer for $150 plus any applicable taxes.
- Free training programs that help low-income residents get familiar with the internet basics. There are options to view as a web-based program or as a printed resource. Classroom-based programs are also available at no additional cost.
Fees and Additional Costs
- Eligible households do not pay any installation or activation fees.
- There are no equipment rental fees for internet service.
- The additional costs that users should be aware of are the applicable taxes on the monthly fee and computer.
- Note that the service only supports a single outlet. Users will be charged for any additional outlets, as well as any custom installations or other XFINITY services and service appointments.
Internet Essentials access is divided into the following sub-programs:
- Internet Essentials for Low-Income Families
- Internet Essentials Housing Assistance Program
- Internet Essentials Veterans Program
- Internet Essentials Senior Program
- Internet Essentials Community College Program (only for Illinois and Colorado)
*Currently, there is also a broadband access trial for Philadelphia residents who participate in federal assistance programs.
Eligibility factors that are common for each program include the following:
- Residents have to reside in areas where Comcast offers their Internet services.
- They should not have any overdue Comcast bills outstanding for 12 months.
- They should not have any unreturned pieces of equipment outstanding for 12 months.
- Comcast decides when there will be enrollment periods for each year.
Further documentation depends on the program that residents want to enroll in. Here’s a list of documentation required per program:
- Low-Income Families applicants: Proof that at least one child is eligible for the National School Lunch Program. The status will have to be confirmed each year while using the program benefits.
- Housing Assistance applicants: Documentation that proves they are participating in public housing.
- A residential lease agreement, rent statement, or rent letter is required and accepted. It should be from the previous or current year.
- The name and address should be clearly visible.
- It should also have the Housing Authority that provides the benefits.
- Veteran Program applicants: Documentation that verifies the veteran status, as well as a receipt of qualifying state and/or federal assistance on an annual basis.
- Senior Program applicants: Proof the applicant is 62 years or over, as well as proof that they receive federal and/or state public assistance.
- Community College applicants: Proof of enrollment in a community college in Illinois or Colorado, or proof of Pell Grant.
- Philadelphia applicants: Proof they live in the city of Philadelphia and participate in federal assistance programs.
Comcast Internet Essentials Application Process
It’s very easy to apply to the program thanks to the application form available on the website. The web application process is simple and straightforward and you can apply in four simple steps:
- Basic Information – Here, you’ll have to give your full name, address, and phone number.
- Personal Details – You’ll need to provide your birth date, social security number, where you heard about Internet Essentials, and promo codes. If you don’t have a social security number, they offer alternatives: you can take a picture of yourself holding your ID or bring your ID to an XFINITY store nearby.
- Essentials Steps – Choose the Internet Essentials Program you wish to enroll in and upload any documentation that is required.
- Review and Confirmation – After you have reviewed all your information and uploaded the documents, you can send your application.
If you need any further assistance, you can call their customer support on 1-855-846-8376. This number can also be used to check eligibility via phone.
Once you complete the application, you will have to wait for the review to complete.
● Participants can be auto-approved, which means they won’t have to provide any additional documentation and will be approved within 5 business days.
● Those who need to provide documentation will be approved within 7 to 10 business days.
Approved Users Receive the Welcome Kit
After applicants are approved, they will receive a Welcome Kit and all the equipment within 7 to 10 business days.
The Welcome Kit is delivered directly to the mail and includes instructions on how to set up the wireless gateway and activate it, and how to set up the account.
Once the gateway is turned on and connected to the computer, users will get prompted to activate the gateway as soon as they open an internet browser. The activation process takes about 10 minutes. After that, the user will be prompted to set up their username, password, and security question. With this, they are all set to use Internet Essentials.
Getting the Low-Cost Computer
Applicants who are approved for the Internet Essentials Program can buy an Internet Essentials–approved computer from CDI Computers. The approved computers are available as a one-time offer per household. Users can choose between laptops or personal computers with an LCD monitor.
The minimum requirements that are guaranteed for the devices include:
- Intel Duo Core 2 (desktops) or Intel Core i3 (laptops)
- 4GB of RAM
- 120GB HDD
- DVD-drive (optional for laptops)
- Trackpad or mouse
- Wi-Fi (laptop only)
- 17″ LCD screen (desktop) or 12″ screen (laptops)
- Windows 10 OS
- MS Office
- Norton Security
Users should know that the devices they get are refurbished devices. This means they were already used but were tested by the manufacturer and any faulty parts were replaced.
The Internet Essentials–approved refurbished devices come with a 90-day warranty and free tech support that covers any defects caused by materials or workmanship, but wear and tear or natural disaster damages are not covered.
The Learning Center Option
All Internet Essential users get free access to the Essentials Learning Center that covers everything they need to use the web in a secure and responsible manner. The lessons are easily skimmable presentations, articles, or videos.
They start with internet basics like choosing your browser, using social media platforms, or setting up a free email.
Users who already know the basics can learn new things about online safety and security. The section about avoiding scams, parenting tips, and dealing with abusive behavior (cyberbullying) is particularly good for new users.
Other resources focus on education and finance, as well as continuing education.
Our Recommendation – Comcast Internet Essentials
Comcast XFINITY Internet Essentials program is a great option for low-income users who are receiving some type of public assistance that is supported by the program. In addition to providing them with fairly good upload and download speeds, users are also eligible for a low-cost computer and have access to the Internet Essentials Learning Center.
This is by far the best bonus in the whole package. The huge repository of resources can help users get started and help them learn how to further their career and education. This sets them up for more career opportunities and a healthier and wealthier life.