Note: This is a guest post written by Brandy O
The Internet has become one of the most powerful and important tools in the business world. Numbers of those connected to the web has increased quicker than anyone had previously thought. Whether it’s through wireless Internet or a 4G Android Phone Samsung Exhibit, more people are connecting to the Internet for a wide range of reasons. It seems though that there is an untapped market with lower-income individuals that still aren’t using the Internet on a larger scale. This might soon change if the market has anything to say about it.
Comcast, the multinational Internet and cable provider, wants to change the way that lower-income households use the web. Everyone can get access to the web from libraries or schools, but Comcast is planning to launch a a new program that’s aimed at bridging the gap between those who have, and those who don’t. The plan is to offer discounted services to people and families who can’t afford a good web service. These families would have to meet a certain income requirement, but would allow them to use this discounted service inside their homes.
Comcast’s plan, called Internet Essentials, is taking a different approach towards connectivity that has been seen, until now, as a luxury. This new plan works on a premise that quality connectivity isn’t just useful, but that it’s essential. This program will be available in areas wherever Comcast offers their services, which will include 39 states, but the company hopes to expand these services across the country. Currently, the site is offered in English and Spanish as a way to promote this program that’s getting a lot of attention. This is a move that’s making many wonder it it’s a cost effective business plan, but it seems that the company can afford it. Comcast’s revenue has risen 51 percent after their merger with NBC Universal and now it appears the company wants to share the wealth.
Under this new program, computer and Internet literacy training will also be available for just under ten dollars a month. It’s expected that low income Hispanic and African American communities will benefit most from the initiative. Comcast Vice President, David Cohen, stated, “when we look around the country, we see the disparities that exist. Quite frankly, people in lower-income communities, mostly people of color, have such limited access to broadband than people in wealthier communities.” This is something that Comcast hopes to change. The program would also be open to children ranging from kindergarten to high school and anyone else that met the eligibility requirement.
This program isn’t just predicated on the notion that everyone has a computer. Millions of Americans still don’t have reliable computer access. Lower income households and families in need would also receive a hundred and fifty dollar tax credit towards the purchase of a home computer under this new voucher program. This would make one of the largest programs to-date at leveling the field for those who have computer and Internet access. Many are paying attention to this move by Comcast, but it’s not likely that they’ll end up losing any money on this. The company will benefit, in the end, by opening themselves up to a large market and bolstering their social image. No one’s really complaining though given that this seems to be a win-win situation for everyone involved.