Altice USA took the wraps off of Economy Internet, a low-cost broadband service for eligible families and seniors in the operator’s Optimum systems covering portions of New York, Connecticut and New Jersey.
Altice USA is offering the new, cap-free tier, which delivers up to 30 Mbps downstream, for $14.99 per month, plus in-home WiFi via a free “smart router,” access to the operator’s Optimum WiFi network of more than 1.5 million hotspots, and up to three email accounts.
The rollout comes a more than five months after Altice closed its acquisition of Cablevision Systems in June. Tied in, Altice had committed to introduce the low income broadband option throughout the Cablevision service territory. That commitment is referenced in the FCC order allowing the deal, and, in June, the New York State Public Service Commission approved the agreement with conditions that included a pledge that included the low-cost broadband option.
The service’s 30 Mbps downstream capability exceeds the FCC’s current definition of wireline “broadband” -- 25 Mbps in the down direction.
Charter Communications recently launched a similar low-cost broadband offering linked to its acquisition of Time Warner Cable. Comcast’s Internet Essentials program stems from a condition of its NBCU deal.
Altice launched its program in several pilot areas in the tri-state area, and unveiled it at an event Wednesday (Nov. 30) at the BronxWorks Carolyn McLaughlin Community Center that featuring actor and New Yorker John Leguizamo, Council Member Vanessa L. Gibson, and Altice USA co-president and COO Hakim Boubazine.
Altice USA said it’s working with community organizations such as BronxWorks to promote the new offer to qualified households, and is working with hundreds of tri-state area community centers and libraries to provide a free broadband modem in computer labs and other public spaces.
Altice USA is initially offering the low-cost broadband service in Norwalk, Conn.; The Bronx, Brooklyn and Yonkers and the Brentwood portion of Long Island, N.Y., and Newark and Paterson, N.J. The MSO said it will launch it in more areas in the following months and have it offered across its entire Optimum footprint for the start of the 2017-2018 school year. The service is available to families who qualify for the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and seniors who qualify for Supplemental Social Security (SSS).
“Altice USA is committed to serving our local communities with the products and services that connect people to the things that matter most,” Boubazine said in a statement. “Whether using the internet for schoolwork, researching career opportunities and current events, or staying in touch with relatives, we are glad to enable those connections for more families and seniors with this new low-cost Optimum broadband solution.”
“It is a pleasure to help Altice USA announce its new ‘Economy Internet’ service, which provides many households in the Bronx and across the tri-state area with an affordable option for internet,” added Leguizamo. “I am always excited to speak with young people about seizing opportunities in order to achieve success, and it is community institutions like BronxWorks and programs like Altice USA’s low-cost broadband that can enable today’s youth to put their goals within reach.”