Comcast's Giving the Poor 6 Months of Free Internet and a Bill Amnesty

Comcast has struggled in the press of recent times, so here's a small ray of sunshine in an otherwise stormy period: the company is giving poor families up to six months of free Internet and setting up an amnesty program for unpaid bills.

These features form part of Comcast's Internet Essentials program, which was actually mandated by the federal government when it acquired NBCUniversal. But until now it's come under fire for its basic $10-per-month Internet service for low-income houses proving too difficult to sign up for.

Now, presumably spurred by the fact that its Time Warner Cable takeover didn't seem to make it more friendly, it's bolstered the Essentials offering. The amnesty will relax restrictions that block those with unpaid bills from the basic Internet scheme, instead seeing "customers who have an outstanding bill that is more than one year old" eligible. (If the unpaid bills are less than a year old, though, they'll need to the settle the debt first.)

In addition, those applying for the $10 service between today and September 20 will receive "up to six months of complimentary service." While the basic package only provides 5Mbps download and 1Mbps upload speeds, that's enough for a child to do their homework or for parents to do digital admin. Not bad, as back-to-school offers go. [Internet Essentials via Ars Technica]