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Astound Broadband launches low-cost Internet service

The product, called Internet First, is aimed at low-income households and requires proof of government assistance to enroll.

The product, called Internet First, is aimed at low-income households and requires proof of government assistance to enroll.

A utility truck used by Astound Broadband. (Courtesy image)
A utility truck used by Astound Broadband. (Still frame from web video, Courtesy image)

Astound Broadband has launched a new low-cost Internet offering that allows customers to sign up for high-speed service for as little as $10 per month.

The offering, called Internet First, is aimed at low-income Americans who were impacted by the ending of the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), a government subsidy that reduced the cost of home Internet service by $30.

There are two tiers of service through Internet First: A $10 per month plan that offers average download speeds of 50 Megabits per second (Mbps), and a $20 per month plan that increases the download speed between 100 and 150 Mbps (in areas where Astound doesn’t offer 150 Mbps connections, 100 Mbps will be offered, according to materials reviewed by The Desk).

Both plans include a standard modem that offers basic wireless Internet coverage. Astound says its whole-home Wi-Fi solution, which improves the internet signal through two included Eero-brand routers, is available for $5 per month for 12 months.

As with the Affordable Connectivity Program, Internet First requires households to prove their status as low-income. To do this, Astound will require customers who want Internet First to provide documentation showing their enrollment in a public assistance program.

New customers who sign up for Internet First can get their first three months of service for free. Astound also has an option for existing customers to switch their plans, though a terms of service page reviewed by The Desk said customers are only eligible for Internet First if “residents of the household have not subscribed to any Astound Broadband services at the service location within the sixty (60) day period immediately prior to applying for the program,” which is a bit confusing.

Astound is not marketing its Internet First service as “broadband,” opting instead for the term “high-speed Internet,” likely because the cheaper of the two plans does not meet the definition of broadband as specified by the Federal Communications Commission. In March, the FCC modified the definition of broadband to require a base download speed of 100 Mbps, which the lowest-cost tier does not offer.

Still, the cheapest plan is plenty fast for surfing the web, checking email, uploading photos and videos to social media and streaming video across most popular services, including Netflix, Hulu and Prime Video. Those who have multiple streaming TVs in their household, or who live with people who like to use online gaming services, should opt for the $20 plan for faster download speeds.

Astound is the latest company to offer a low-cost Internet option for households who are looking to save money and whose benefit through the ACP recently lapsed.

Charter, which operates through the Spectrum brand, operates a program called Internet Assist, which offers low-priced, high-speed Internet connections for eligible low-income households who are enrolled in government assistance programs.

Comcast also offers a low-cost Internet program called Now Internet, which costs $30 per month for average download speeds of 100 Mbps. Unlike the products offered by Astound and Charter, anyone within Comcast’s service footprint can switch to Now Internet, without any eligibility requirements.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is a nationally-recognized, award-winning journalist who has covered the business of media, technology, radio and television for more than 11 years. He is the publisher of The Desk and contributes to Know Techie, Digital Content Next and StreamTV Insider. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, the Walt Disney Company, McNaughton Newspapers and Tribune Broadcasting.
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