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Downgrade cause you're broke? Comcast $9.99 Internet Essentials Plan Expanded on the low-down.

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Downgrade cause you're broke? Comcast $9.99 Internet Essentials Plan Expanded on the low-down.

Sad to say, you're still going to have to leave for 90 days, even to get into a need based plan. But if you're out of work or your income is greatly reduced or you are already getting some kind of government help (or could qualify) talk to the people at Comcast Internet Essentials anway. They'll speak with you now, and there's no sitting on hold. 


First you  fill out the online form -- which is like, three boxes, it's so short. Hit submit. (Spanish language link here). When you get a prompt to call a human, don't flinch -- call, choose internet essentials, but don't hit any buttons when presented with choices of which criteria you meet.


I don't meet any currently (ill, unemployed, in foreclosure, possibly dying, but haven't got any 'official' help yet). Still, I got through instantly to one of the nicest humans I'd ever spoken to, one who never heard of Comcast's bag of tricks. It's called compassion and hot on the heels of my conversation with regular customer service it made my head spin. Qualifiers:


  • If you have one or more children who's getting a free school lunch, you're accepted instantly but the criteria, though not well-publicized, are broader.
  • The child could be getting a reduced price lunch.
  • They recently made adjustments to admit families with parochial and home schooled children. 
  • If you're getting HUD housing or are eligible for HUD help, that works. 
  • There's another eligibility program if you're 63 or older.
  • There's a program for community college students that's currently only for residents in Colorado and Illinois. 
  • They have more discretion than regular Comcast employees -- if you are in need, yet don't meet the criteria, they will try to figure out what else you can do to qualify. 


The agent urged me to leave Comcast for 90 days, be sure I had at least SNAP (food stamps), and call him back. He also insisted I speak again with regular Xfinity to say Internet Essentials sent me and they should waive the 90 days and reduce my payment.


Apart from being stunned on hearing a human hello instead of a tape when I was transferred, there were no other surprises. The fellow I spoke with told me quite honestly that customer service no longer has any discretionary power at all and said I absolutely should leave. 


I'm resistant -- $49.99 plus fees for Comcast is more than I can afford, but cheaper options in my area are limited to two year DSL contracts (I may not live that long) with big installation fees. The guy became quite paternal, saying, well, find a workaround -- it's three months, and you'll end up with a great plan that stays affordable for as long as you need it. He's right. 

My area is as limited in phone coverage as internet, but yours may be better. The wirecutters and tech people in forums know how to squeeze maximum data from the various 'unlimited' data plans available. And if you've got a big family, there are some decent deals. AT&T's unlimited plus isn't too bad per person and they prioritize rather than throttle (you never drop below minimal streaming speed and it only slows when the network is congested). Howard forum and XDA Developers forum are good places to go for advice. 

Don't give up. There isn't much out there for childless people in need and in the past, I rarely applied for benefits. When I did, I'd only qualify for $10 or $20 worth of food stamps during the month or two before I found a new job. 

But consider. Qualifying for that $10 or $20 may qualify you for $9.99 broadband.  As for HUD or other programs that have waiting lists, applying doesn't seem pointless, in light of this program. You never know long long you'll be jobless. People get sick. They have accidents. Lowering your monthly nut helps brings peace of mind and this is an opportunity to do so without sacrificing much -- Internet Essentials is a great plan and comes with added benefits


 I'm very angry at Comcast. Not because they denied me a cheaper plan when I needed it  -- that's business. But they humiliated me needlessly. Denied me access to manage my account, forced me to speak at protracted length with an agent who knew I was broke, deathly ill and in foreclosure, but stuck to her script, offering me one 'sale price' upgrade after another no matter how many times I asked to downgrade to the lowest tier of service. 

Worse, I could tell from her voice that she felt foolish sticking to her script -- it was what she did to keep her job.  


Funny, isn't it? Comcast knows everybody hates them. You would think, after the agent is sure she's wrung the last dime out of you, she'd be permitted to mention Internet Essentials, but no. Instead of trumpeting the one worthy program they sponsor, they keep it quite. They expand eligibility, but on the low down. Why don't they put up flyers in English and Spanish at local health clinics and WIC offices? (But I'll Comcast's lobbyists know all about it).



Anyhow, sorry to my fellow forum-goers for being so verbose. My focus is too poor these days to edit properly, but hopefully at least one of you will get some help out of this.  I wish you all the best! 

Bronze Problem Solver

Re: Downgrade cause you're broke? Comcast $9.99 Internet Essentials Plan Expanded on the low-down.

Hello, and thank you for reaching out to us. I would be happy to assist you from here.Can you verify your account information with me? I would need your phone number, full name, and service address. You can private message me by clicking my name and clicking private message..

I am a Retired Official Comcast Employee and no longer actively support the Xfinity Forum.
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