Comcast adds 6 months of free Internet service, payment amnesty to program for low-income families

Ramping up efforts to serve low-income families as it seeks federal approval of its $45 billion proposed merger with Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC), Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) has formally announced a plan to offer six months of free Internet service to low-income families.

As part of its Internet Essentials program, any eligible family that applies for the program between Aug. 4 and Sept. 20 will receive up to six months of no-cost Internet service.

Comcast says it will also offer amnesty for qualifying families that are at least one year past due on their balance for Comcast broadband services.

"Internet Essentials is about transforming lives and inspiring a new generation of leaders to be digitally ready to access the information and tools all students need to succeed in the 21st century," said David L. Cohen, Comcast executive VP. "By offering up to six months of complimentary Internet Essentials service, along with an amnesty program, we hope to convince even more families that there is no better school supply than having broadband Internet at home. With it, kids can do their homework and parents can be more connected to their children's teachers and schools."

Comcast says that more than 350,000 families have qualified for Internet Essentials since 2011. The program is available in 39 states, as well as Washington, D.C. The program offers ISP service to low-income families for $9.95 per month. Comcast has been criticized in the past for not promoting the program enough.

For more:
- read this Comcast press release

Related links:
Comcast defends Internet Essentials program
Comcast preps Internet Essentials progress report
Comcast increasing Internet Essentials speeds to 5 Mbps