Xfinity Internet Essentials: Bridging the Digital Divide for Low-Income Households

Xfinity Internet Essentials promises more than just connectivity. Delve into its diverse offerings, and join us as we guide you through the application process, step by step.


Lyndon Seitz - Editor-in-Chief

Date Modified: April 18, 2024

Xfinity Internet Essentials: Bridging the Digital Divide for Low-Income Households

The internet has become a vital part of our daily lives, serving various purposes such as work, entertainment, education, and communication. However, not everyone can afford high-speed internet, especially those with low income. Fortunately, ISPs like Comcast Xfinity have stepped up and made it possible for everyone to have access to affordable high-speed internet. 

One of the ways Comcast Xfinity has achieved this is through its "Internet Essentials" program, a low-cost internet service that has provided access to over 10 million families since its launch in 2011. In this article, we'll take a closer look at Comcast Xfinity's Internet Essentials program and how it has made a positive impact on millions of people's lives.

What You Get With Xfinity Internet Essentials

Xfinity Internet Essentials is a program offered by Comcast that provides affordable internet plans to low-income households. The basic plan offers download speeds of up to 50 Mbps, while Internet Essentials Plus offers up to 100 Mbps speeds. These speeds are more than enough for most typical internet activities like browsing, streaming, and online gaming.

In addition to high-speed internet, Internet Essentials offers several other benefits to its subscribers. These include:

  • Free Wi-Fi Router: Internet Essentials comes with a free Wi-Fi router that can connect multiple devices to the internet.
  • No Credit Check or Contract: Unlike other internet providers, Internet Essentials does not require a credit check or contract to sign up. This makes it easier for low-income households to access the internet without worrying about their credit score or long-term commitments.
  • Low Cost: Internet Essentials is one of the most affordable internet plans in the market, with monthly fees ranging from $9.95 to $29.95. 

Budget-Friendly Plans

Xfinity Internet Essentials offers budget-friendly plans with the aim of bridging the digital divide and providing access to essential internet services. Let's look deeper into these two programs to see what they offer regarding features and benefits.

Internet Essentials Basic Plan

The Internet Essentials Basic Plan offers a rate of $9.95 every month, with download speeds of up to 50 Mbps. Some key benefits include:

  • The plan is contract-free, which means you can cancel anytime without any cancellation fees.
  • Perfect for web browsing, email, and video streaming on a single device.
  • A free Getting Started Kit is included with the plan.
  • The kit contains a gateway (a modem/router combination) and all the cords required to set up your internet.
  • This kit makes it easy to start your internet service without additional equipment costs.
  • The plan is an excellent choice for households on a tight budget who require essential internet services.

Internet Essentials Basic Plus Plan

The Internet Essentials Basic Plus Plan is available for $29.95 per month and offers download speeds reaching 100 Mbps. The advantages of this plan are:

  • This plan is ideal for households that require faster download speeds and have multiple devices connected to the internet.
  • The plan is perfect for online gaming, video conferencing, or streaming video content on multiple devices simultaneously.
  • Like the Internet Essentials plan, this plan is also contract-free.
  • A free Getting Started Kit is included with the plan.
  • The kit contains a gateway (a modem/router combination) and all the cords required to set up your internet.
  • This kit makes it easy to start your internet service without additional equipment costs.
  • The plan is an excellent choice for households with multiple devices that require faster download speeds.

Laptop or Desktop Computer Discount

Xfinity Internet Essentials offers the opportunity to purchase a laptop or desktop computer at a discounted price. We will discuss the eligibility requirements and application process for the computer discount program offered by Internet Essentials.

Eligibility Requirements

  • To be eligible for the computer discount program, households must have an active Internet Essentials account.
  • They must not have purchased a discounted computer from Xfinity within the last six months.
  • Households must have a valid email address and a credit or debit card to complete the transaction.

Discounted Devices

  • Customers can choose from a Chromebook or Dell laptop for a discounted price of $149.99 plus tax.
  • The laptops come preloaded with essential software, including Microsoft Office Suite and Norton Security, making them ready to use right out of the box.

Application Process

  • Customers can visit the Xfinity website and fill out an online application.
  • The application process includes a credit check and may take up to ten days to process.
  • Once the application is approved, the customer will receive an email with instructions on how to complete the purchase of the discounted computer.

Wi-fi Hotspot Access

With 40 hours of monthly access, you can use Xfinity wi-fi hotspots in public areas without tapping into cellular data. Xfinity has millions of wi-fi hotspots located across the country. These hotspots are in parks, shopping centers, restaurants, and other locations. This is particularly useful for individuals who do not have internet service at home or need to access the internet while away.

Wi-fi hotspot access through Xfinity Internet Essentials offers unlimited data usage without additional charges. Wi-fi hotspots use WPA2 encryption, a high level of encryption that ensures the connection is secure and private. To access the wi-fi, you must enter your Xfinity username and password to connect and use the internet for free within range.

Free Digital Literacy Training

Xfinity Internet Essentials offers free digital literacy training to its subscribers, providing valuable skills for the digital economy, such as online education and job searches. The program provides resources like tutorials, videos, and in-person training sessions, all of which are available to program subscribers, new and existing.

This training will help people learn basic computer skills and improve their digital literacy. It is available online and includes topics such as email, internet safety, social media, online banking, and job searching. To access the training, you must be a customer of Xfinity Internet Essentials.

You can check your eligibility and apply on the Xfinity Internet Essentials website if you're not a customer. Once you are a customer, you can access the training by logging into your account on the website.

How to Apply for Internet Essentials

If you meet the specific eligibility requirements of the Xfinity Internet Essentials program and are interested in obtaining affordable high-speed internet access, the application process is straightforward and fast.

Step 1: Check If You're Eligible

Before applying, you should ensure that you meet the eligibility requirements for the Internet Essentials program. The following government-funded programs gives you eligibility:

  • National School Lunch Program (NSLP) - This program provides free or reduced-price lunches to students in participating schools.
  • Housing Assistance qualification is based on several federal housing assistance programs, including Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers, public housing, and privately owned subsidized housing
  • Medicaid is a state and federal program that provides healthcare coverage to low-income individuals and families.
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) - SNAP food stamps is a federal program that assists low-income individuals and families in purchasing food.
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI) - SSI is a federal program that provides cash assistance to low-income individuals who are disabled, blind, or 65 or older.
  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) - TANF is a federal program that provides temporary financial assistance to low-income families with children.

To qualify for the Xfinity Internet Essentials program, you must not have been a subscriber to Comcast's internet service within the preceding 90 days. If you are currently subscribed, you can still apply for the program, provided that you cancel your current service and abstain from using it for at least 90 days.

It is also advisable to have no outstanding debts to Comcast that are less than a year old, including unpaid bills or equipment fees. If you have any unpaid debts, you must resolve them before applying for Internet Essentials.

Step 2: Complete and Submit Your Application Online

Completing and submitting your application online to Internet Essentials is quick and easy. You can even save your incomplete application and get back to it later if necessary. Follow these steps:

  1. Visit the website of the organization or program you wish to apply for.
  2. Look for the "Apply" or "Apply Online" button or link on the website.
  3. Click on the button or link, and you'll be redirected to the online application form.
  4. Fill out the application form with accurate and complete information. This may include personal details such as your name, address, phone number, email address, and social security number.
  5. Provide proof of eligibility, such as documentation of income or participation in a qualifying assistance program. If you don't have access to a scanner, take a photo of your documentation with your phone and upload it to the website as .JPG or .JPEG.
  6. Review the application form carefully before submitting it to ensure that all the information is accurate and complete.
  7. Click on the "Submit" button to complete the application process.
  8. Wait for a confirmation email or notification from the organization or program to confirm that your application has been received and processed.

Remember to keep a copy of your application for your records, and follow up with the organization or program if you haven't received a response within the specified timeframe.

Step 3: Wait To Be Approved

After you have submitted your application for the Internet Essentials program, the program's team will review and verify your eligibility. Here's what you can expect after you apply:

Approval Process:

  • The approval process typically takes several days.
  • The Internet Essentials team will review your application and verify your eligibility for the program.

If your application is approved:

  • You will receive a confirmation email from the Internet Essentials team with instructions on how to set up your internet service.
  • The email will include information on the equipment you will need, such as a modem and router, which will be provided to you by the program.

Welcome Letter:

  • You can expect to receive a welcome letter from the program.
  • The welcome letter will provide important information about the program, including its terms and conditions.
  • It typically arrives within a few days of your approval and is sent to the address you provided in your application.
  • The welcome letter contains details about your internet service, including the speed of your connection and any additional features or benefits that may be included.

Step 4: Enjoy Your New Plan

To start using your new Internet Essentials service, you will need to set up the equipment provided by the program, as outlined in the welcome letter. This typically involves connecting the modem and router to your home's electrical and cable outlets.

Before beginning the Xfinity Internet Essentials setup process, ensure you have all the necessary equipment. Connect the modem to a power outlet and the cable or DSL line, and if you are using a separate router, connect it to the modem via an Ethernet cable. Once the modem and router are properly set up, you are all set.

The Bottom Line 

Xfinity Internet Essentials is a program by Comcast that aims to provide affordable internet access to low-income households. Here are the key points of the program:

  • The program is available to households that meet certain income criteria or are enrolled in certain assistance programs.
  • Qualified households can receive high-speed internet for $9.95 per month, plus tax. There are no activation fees or equipment rental fees.
  • The internet service provides speeds of up to 50 Mbps download and 5 Mbps upload.
  • Participants receive a Wi-Fi router for free, as well as the option to purchase a low-cost computer.
  • The program offers a variety of resources to help participants get the most out of their internet service, including online tutorials, a free internet safety guide, and access to low-cost computer classes.

Overall, Xfinity Internet Essentials is a valuable program for low-income households that need affordable internet access. It not only provides high-speed internet at a low price, but also offers resources to help participants make the most of their internet service. If you are eligible for the program, it is definitely worth considering.

If you don't qualify for Xfinity Internet Essentials, fear not. Xfinity offers a range of affordable plans to choose from!


How do I transfer my existing Internet Essentials plan?

To transfer your existing Xfinity Internet Essentials plan to a new address, you can contact the Internet Essentials customer service team by phone. They will guide you through the transfer process and provide you with any relevant information about fees or requirements. You must provide your account information, including your name and current address, and the new address where you would like to transfer your service.

Can I become ineligible for the Xfinity Internet Essentials program?

Yes, it is possible to become ineligible. The program's eligibility is based on several factors, including household income, participation in other assistance programs, and other criteria. If your household income or participation in assistance programs changes, you may no longer be eligible. Additionally, if you violate any of the program's terms and conditions, you may become ineligible also.

Can I disconnect my Internet Essentials service?

You can disconnect your Internet Essentials service anytime by contacting the customer service team. You may need to provide some information, such as your account number or personal information, to verify your identity before you can cancel your service. Remember that if you cancel your service, you will no longer have access to the internet and any benefits from the program.

What's the difference between Internet Essentials and ACP?

Internet Essentials and the Access from AT&T program (ACP) are affordable internet programs designed to help low-income households access high-speed internet. There are some differences between the two programs.

Comcast/Xfinity offers Internet Essentials offers eligible households internet speeds of up to 50 Mbps. This means that Internet Essentials may be better suited for those needing faster internet speeds for online gaming, streaming, or working from home. It includes the option to purchase a "low-cost" internet-ready computer. 

ACP provides internet speeds of up to 25 Mbps and offers the opportunity to buy a low-cost computer or tablet. The eligibility requirements for each program differ slightly. Internet Essentials eligibility is based on several factors, including household income, participation in assistance programs, and location. ACP eligibility is primarily based on household income and National School Lunch Program (NSLP) participation.

How many devices can Internet Essentials support?

Internet Essentials can support multiple devices, but the exact number will depend on the specific plan you choose and the capabilities of your home network equipment. The program offers internet speeds up to 50 Mbps, sufficient for browsing the web, streaming video, and simultaneously using social media on multiple devices. If you experience slower speeds or connectivity issues. Check the number of devices connected, as it affects the speed and performance of your connection. It is recommended to overload the network with only a few appliances simultaneously to ensure you get the best possible internet experience.