Comcast just announced that it'll be tripling its internet speed for many of its customers for free. Great, right?
Well no, not if you're one of the low-income customers who rely on Comcast's dirt-slow, low-cost internet. Those customers are getting left in the internet slow lane -- even though it'd hardly cost anything for Comcast to boost their speeds too.
If you're a subscriber to Internet Essentials -- the low-speed service Comcast designed for low-income families who qualify for the National School Lunch Program -- you're stuck with a measly 5 megabits per second, just one fifth of the bottom basement definition of broadband according to the Federal Communications Commission.
This news is just breaking, and it hasn't even hit the mainstream media yet. If we can create a firestorm of controversy now, then the company will have to listen.
Tell Comcast: increase your speeds, and improve affordable, high speed internet access for everyone not just Cadillac customers.
15% percent of Americans are offline -- almost exclusively rural folks, low income communities, people of color, and seniors. If Comcast can provide 50mbps for free to its Cadillac customers, it has a moral responsibility to upgrade the speed for low income customers trying to stay on the right side of the digital divide.
There's a reason people hate Comcast. Comcast tried to kill Net Neutrality in Congress. It has some of the worst customer service ever. And it is pushing for sweetheart deals from cities like in its hometown of Philadelphia, where it is in the process of renegotiating a 15-year deal to sell cable and communications citywide so it can raise prices, clearing the way for Comcast to prioritize whatever Web traffic it wants.
That's why Comcast created Internet Essentials -- not out of the goodness of its heart, but
because it knows that legislators are more likely to give it the green light to rip off customers if it creates programs that look good. Even better if they don't cost the company much money. In this case, the service has been criticized by the youth and families that use it as too slow, too hard to access, and way more window dressing than an honest attempt to get everyone online.
We beat Comcast before, and we can do it again. Just months ago Comcast just pulled out of its $45 billion merger deal with Time Warner that would have given it control of most of the country's internet access after tens of thousands of SumOfUs members joined thousands of other people in submitting comments against the takeover.
Let's keep that momentum going and make sure Comcast doesn't put its customers in the slow lane.
Tell Comcast now - increase your speeds for low income communities, and expand access to affordable, high speed internet now.
Comcast Improving Download Speeds For Free In Northeast, But Not For Everyone,Consumerist, July 14th, 2015