Charter Communications is offering a new lower-cost broadband service to seniors and qualified customers in an attempt to bridge the “digital divide.”

The program is similar to one offered by AT&T.

Charter, which recently acquired Time Warner Cable and its Internet/cable TV service, offers products under the Spectrum brand.

The lower-cost program, called Spectrum Internet Assist, is half the price of Spectrum’s offering when bundled with other products, at $14.99 per month. Wi-Fi connectivity is an additional $5 per month. The package does include email and security software as well as a modem.

However, the Internet speed is also slower than Spectrum’s $30 package, offering access at 30 megabits per second (mbbs) vs. 60 mbps.

“Charter is excited to bring a whole new world of digital access and opportunity to low income families and seniors. Spectrum Internet Assist is an important next step in providing true high-speed connections to those who would otherwise continue to face a digital inequality in this country,” said Tom Rutledge, Chairman and CEO of Charter Communications, in a statement.

“It’s crucial for cable and broadband providers like us to play a role in bridging the digital divide so that everyone has access to the information and tools they need to succeed in today’s economy.”

Charter is introducing the service across its 40-plus state geographical service area.

Spectrum has set specific guidelines for customers who qualify for the lower price service:

  • Families with students who participate in the National School Lunch Program
  • Seniors who are 65 and older who receive Supplemental Security Income program benefits
  • Current phone and video customers who meet one of the two criteria above may enroll.
  • Prospective SIA enrollees cannot have had a Charter/Time Warner Cable/Bright House Networks broadband subscription within 30 days of signing up.
  • Eligible participants will not need to undergo a credit check but they must clear any outstanding debt with Charter, Time Warner Cable or Bright House Networks from the previous 12 months.

Charter also is teaming with the Kramden Institute in the Triangle to help refurbish and provide computers to students and families who do not have a home computer. Some 60 computers will be distributed on Saturday at 9 a.m. at the Kramden headquarters in Durham.

AT&T offers lower cost plans at slower speeds for customers who meet similar criteria.

The service starts at 3 mbps for $5 a month and either 5 mbps or 10 mbps for $10.

For information about Spectrum Internet Assist, see:

or call 1-844-525-1574