By Ian Bush

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Around 11,000 families in the Philadelphia area have signed up for Comcast’s low-cost Internet Essentials program, but many more people are eligible, and the cable giant is hoping new incentives will get them plugged in.

If you’re a year (or more) behind on a Comcast bill, the company will forgive your debt.

“We are offering families who qualify for Internet Essentials, but may have a back balance, an opportunity to have amnesty on that balance for the purpose of getting Internet Essentials.”

As long as your family includes at least one child eligible for the National School Lunch Program.

Robert Smith, who heads community investment in the region for Comcast, says they’re also giving a break on the $10/month cost for the connection for half a year. That part of the deal is only good if you sign up by Saturday, September 20th.

Comcast extended Internet Essentials indefinitely after its bid for Time Warner Cable. The program aims to narrow the digital divide.

“That disparity really impacts the ability of students to complete homework assignments, it shows up in graduation rates. And not just in students but in adults — ability to find and apply for jobs online.”

For information, call 855-846-8376 or go to

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