Bringing Internet to Low-Income
By Steve Donohue
Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC), Cablevision (NYSE: CVC) and other cable MSOs plan to begin marketing $9.95 monthly high-speed Internet access services to low-income homes similar to the “Internet Essentials” program Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA) began rolling out earlier this year.
The companies plan to announce the discounted broadband service at a press conference Wednesday afternoon with FCC chairman Julius Genachowski. National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) president Michael Powell called the news a “proud moment” in a Twitter post about the announcement.
Like Comcast, Cablevision and Time Warner Cable will offer the $9.95 package to subscribers who qualify for the federal school lunch program. But subscribers who take the discount will only be able to surf the Web at a maximum speeds of 1.5 Mbps, which is a fraction of the speeds Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Cablevision deliver to the vast majority of their subscribers. The MSOs offer speeds of 10 Mbps to 20 Mbps to most subscribers, and also offer tiers of 50 Mbps and faster to customers who order wideband Internet service.
CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL) began marketing a similar $9.95 Internet service last month.
Offering $9.95 access could help major cable MSOs increase the number of high-speed data subscribers on their books. Comcast didn’t break out the number of customers that are paying it just $9.95 monthly for Internet access when it reported third-quarter earnings last week. It will be interesting to see if the public MSOs eventually detail the Internet tiers subscribers order, which would allow analysts to more effectively gauge the health of their high-speed Internet businesses.Tags:cheap internet plans, internet access for low income, internet plans for low income, time warner cable, time warner cable packages, time warner deals, time warner internet, time warner internet access, time warner internet packages, time warner promotions, time warner specials