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FCC Unveiling $10 Broadband for Low-Income Households

The Federal Communications Commission is reportedly teaming up with private cable providers like Time Warner Cable, Cox and Charter to supply broadband internet access to low-income households for $9.99 per month. The New York Times said the FCC will announce commitments from most of the big cable companies sometime on Wednesday.

According to the paper, the FCC is looking to "close the digital divide" by offering a low introductory price intended for low-income households that haven't enabled broadband access in the past (yes, dial-up customers are still out there). Comcast actually already started offering the discounted price earlier this year after it acquired control over NBCUniversal, the paper said.

Low-cost broadband access will be available to households that qualify for federal school-lunch programs, and will include a rental modem, free installation and 1 Mbps access. Redemtech will provide refurbished desktops and laptops for $150 which will include free shipping and 90 days of technical support in the price. Microsoft will provide the operating system, and Morgan Stanley will help develop a microcredit program so that low-income families can pay for those computers.

As previously mentioned, the $9.99 monthly fee will be an introductory price that will stretch over a two-year timeframe: an on-ramp for new customers. Once those two years are depleted, customers are expected to pay the normal monthly price if they choose to keep the broadband access.

FCC chairman Julius Genachowski said on Tuesday that about one-third of American households, or 100 million people, do not have high-speed Internet access at home. Some of those homes simply don't have physical access to broadband internet, but many actually have access yet choose not to subscribe because of monthly pricing and/or "perceived relevance to their lives."

The new internet on-ramp for qualified customers is expected to launch in Spring 2012 and then reach all parts of the United States by September 2012. The New York Times stated that cable companies aren't expected to sustain a significant financial loss because broadband service typically has a high markup. The meager $9.99 monthly fee will "more than cover the overhead costs of providing monthly internet service."

Verizon and AT&T will reportedly not be a part of the low-income access plan.

  • wildkitten
    Why is the FCC involved in this? They are supposed to be on oversight, regulatory body, not an advocacy group.

    And is there arm twisting by the FCC, a government agency, on private business to do this? Is there tax payer subsidies? This is actually disturbing.

    And when did broadband internet become sort form of right? This is just not good.
    Reply
  • Kami3k
    wildkittenWhy is the FCC involved in this? They are supposed to be on oversight, regulatory body, not an advocacy group.And is there arm twisting by the FCC, a government agency, on private business to do this? Is there tax payer subsidies? This is actually disturbing.And when did broadband internet become sort form of right? This is just not good.
    Lol, so you want the US to look like a joke in all ways all because of your idiotic worship of the free market?
    Reply
  • "Verizon and AT&T will reportedly not be a part of the low-income access plan."

    Verizon has been pulling out of DSL markets, not sure if they are selling their FIOS also. However, AT&T is not participating because they are complete a#@holes.
    Reply
  • klavis
    wow, if 9.99 more than covers the overhead price then why the hell is it going to be increased. Why the hell isn't that the standard price. It's a very good introductory rate in comparison to what they have now, but it still stinks of horse shit.
    Reply
  • I have a better idea... FCC doesn't subsidize ANYONE's internet access, and the Feds can lower my taxes. I'm tired of paying for poor people that continue to make bad decisions and tend to have way to many kids all on my dime.


    Reply
  • acadia11
    wildkittenWhy is the FCC involved in this? They are supposed to be on oversight, regulatory body, not an advocacy group.And is there arm twisting by the FCC, a government agency, on private business to do this? Is there tax payer subsidies? This is actually disturbing.And when did broadband internet become sort form of right? This is just not good.

    You mean so we can continue to behind the curve where places like England, Japan, Korea, etc ... get their citizens 50mbs for much cheaper prices. The GOP and you guys can go away with your let's have America actually be behind ... as opposed to leading from behind. "You People" are the reason why the US lags behind the top nations your so caught up in your politics that you don't realize other governments don't give a ...t about ideology they give a ...t about hwat's effective and being at the top. YOu know why China is kicking our axx in the green jobs market, because, they don't give a ...t about their government spending $30+ billion on it to fund companies, subsidize, and do research consequently leading to much much lower prices on their goods like for example solar panels. And you guys bytch about a company like solyndra getting $500 million in loans over several years and still not being able to compete, and us spending a total of $2.4 billion to subsidize our green economy companies, ain't ... squat compared to what other "Big Government" is spending in their nations.

    Actually, when the "...f ..." did we become an anti-government nation, I thought even since the beginning it was "Federal Government" vs "State Government (localized)" not some backwards axx idea that government was bad? In any vain welcome to the 21st century and if you can't adapt to the changing landscape you can be like every other great nation that has failed, refused to change with the times and became irrelevant.
    Reply
  • sliem
    Hopefully this will kill AOHell
    Reply
  • acadia11
    teapot156I have a better idea... FCC doesn't subsidize ANYONE's internet access, and the Feds can lower my taxes. I'm tired of paying for poor people that continue to make bad decisions and tend to have way to many kids all on my dime.
    Ummm .. your taxes don't pay for the poor, they actually, pay for old white people who won't die, considering that 30%+ of our annual budget goes to MM and SS, how is that the poor you are subsidizing? ASDF (things that cover welfare like the "federal lunch program") accounts for less than .5% of the annual federal budget and that's including what states spend. So, the idea that your tax dollars is subsidizing the poor is the greatest myth in American politics. Thank You , Mr. Reagan for creating that image. But since when did politics have to do with truth?
    Reply
  • mimic
    @wildkitten

    Soooooo what your telling me is that the private business don't already own our current government already. There is SOOOOOO much of this in reverse where private business "the big ones" bribe and "twist arms" to get what they want out of the government its crazy.

    About time the FCC actually stepped in and did their job and didn't get their "arm twisted" to not proceed with this plan!
    Reply
  • enkichild
    This is a step in the wrong direction. Not only is 1mbps absolutely paltry compared to the rest of the world, $10 a month is too much money.

    I have a 20mbps connection for 40 dollars a month. That is $2 per 1mbps

    Now when you factor in overage charges for bandwidth (Which was not covered in the article), it's an even worse deal.

    If you want to make change, bring happiness, improve communication, improve the economy, then charge nothing! Even $1 a month fee is a deterrent due to the fact that you would have to sign up. The internet should be free, we pay enough in taxes to provide this for every single person in the world.

    Also consider, why do you even have to qualify for this?! It's just another deterrent! Why the hell should poor people have to throw themselves into a "class" in order to qualify for something? It is outrageous to assume people in North America are going to drop their current ISP monthly plan for some dumbass $10 a month 1mbps connection that is almost 3 decades behind in speed.
    Reply