The Home Connect program’s rollout continues, and as expected, there are many lessons to be learned along the way. This process is being streamlined through proactive sharing of feedback and suggestions among the staff as they learn new things. Since it was anticipated early on that there may be a delay in getting Home Connect participants signed up for home internet, the initial program participants are those with existing access to home internet.
Previous experience has shown that getting new learners established with home internet service can be challenging and time-consuming. Although Comcast offers a low-price option called Internet Essentials for eligible limited-income applicants, the enrollment process can be frustrating and intimidating for older learners to accomplish on their own.
Anticipating minor roadblocks, Al Ho, one of CTN’s bilingual digital literacy instructors, spent time researching the process and became familiar with accessing and navigating Comcast’s phone tree. He even visited with an agent to learn what information will be required from the applicant.
Comcast also offers the option of applying online. For our learners who have no internet access capability, the online application option is not useful.
When it came time for the first account activation, it was necessary for the applicant to be on the phone. On May 12, Home Connect learner Catherine joined Al in a three-way call with Comcast as he successfully moved through the extensive telephone tree. Upon reaching the designated department, Al assisted Catherine with completing her application. As a result of the call, Catherine was approved for Internet Essentials!
A Comcast technician was scheduled to drop off the equipment at her address, the only method of delivery during COVID-19. The technician will not enter her apartment but is allowed to stay at the door to help her install the modem/router. Al told Catherine that she could call in case she still needs his help. He also explained to her what she may expect with regard to the contract duration and monthly payment. Two free months are provided by Comcast, and three months are sponsored by CTN if she completes our training.
A tablet will be shipped to Catherine, and since she now has internet, she will begin her training with Josie. We appreciate Al, and the rest of the CTN team, and their commitment to those we serve.