Cable companies don’t often get a lot of compliments. There are customer service issues, bundle packages packed with channels or services that aren’t desired, and an annoying tendency to convert promotional prices to exorbitant bills with no warning.
Sometimes, though, they’ll go and do a good thing. This week, Charter Communications announced that high-speed internet access will be made available to low-income consumers in New York for just $14.99 a month, significantly less than the supplier’s typical rate of $44.99 per month.
This being the cable industry, there are a few details in the fine print. That $14.99 doesn’t cover wireless access, which is an extra $4.99 a month, and the maximum download speed is 30 megabytes compared to the standard 100 megabytes available for full-price customers.
The service, called Spectrum Internet Assist, was championed by New York council member Ben Kallos and public advocate Letitia James, who observed during a March 16 press conference that the offer is expected to “bridge the digital divide” for lower-income households.
Charter services Queens, Manhattan, Staten Island, and some Brooklyn properties. To qualify, applicants must have someone living in the home who participates in the National School Lunch program, which provides free or low-cost meals to students, or is over age 65 and receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI).