Extending the program makes accessing great shows even easier

The figure on the poster stopped me like today’s gasoline prices. Is the opposite.

It offered an online package for $ 24.99 a month, much of what I and most people pay.

The reason turned out to be better than I thought.

Even before the pandemic, Comcast launched a program targeted at low-income families. Called the Affordable Connection Program (ACP) with the additional name PHLConnectED it provided families with Internet, cable and other modern means of communication at discounted prices.

Aimed at benefiting children and supporting low-income families in a world that is increasingly dependent on the Internet for basic information and educational needs, ACP subsidizes eligible families by $ 30 per package, reducing costs and providing the necessary communication facilities to the ladies who might otherwise find a monthly subscription out of reach.

As a result, the benefits of such a program seem endless. Children, and students in particular, will have the information resources to compete and be aware of the lessons taught at the school. They would also benefit from seeing programs and articles that promote cultural literacy, including what every child can talk about in the schoolyard.

As an adult, I regret that many companies no longer accept phone calls and don’t even have phone numbers to serve customers. ACP, by providing the Internet, allows people to connect to outlets with which they have businesses that would be inaccessible without Internet access.

Launched one ACP, and Comcast saw how much it has helped families with children, Comcast has expanded its scope to include seniors and others whose incomes have prevented them from searching the Internet.

Compliance remains a key part of ACP. The family must meet a number of criteria that are considered by Comcast and the subsidizing agency, the federal government, after applying for ACP.

Once approved, Comcast can offer free and discounted online options that provide eligible families up to $ 30 a month.

Another good news is that an eligible customer can apply ACP credits to any level of Xfinity Internet, including Internet Essentials.

In Philadelphia, Comcast is working with the city to create the PHLConnectED program, which links to the ACP’s original goal of providing free and reliable Internet access for students from pre-school to 12th grade.

This partnership was especially important during the pandemic, when so much learning was conducted online.

“As the world becomes more digital, it’s important that everyone has the resources to succeed in today’s economy,” said Dennis Matthew, senior vice president, Comcast Freedom Region.

“An affordable connectivity program is an opportunity that Comcast is proud to offer to each of our eligible customers so that they can connect and stay connected to the Internet.”

Comcast recently introduced two new ways for customers to benefit from ACP.

One is the Internet Essentials Plus plan, which doubles the download speed. Customers eligible for this option actually get broadband for free as soon as a government discount is applied.

Another is Xfinity Mobile, which includes a 5G network and allows eligible customers to save on out-of-home connectivity needs. The state subsidy, once approved, cuts basic monthly phone costs by almost half. The customer also has the option to choose between an unlimited package or a package that is calculated depending on usage, By the Gig, or even choose one of the plans.

You can contact the ACP by visiting or by calling 1-844-389-4681. For information about PHLConnectED, go to

Comcast is also the height of a company she calls ProjectUP, which provides a $ 1 billion commitment to reach millions of people over the next 10 years and provide them with the tools, skills and resources to succeed in the digital world.

– IMDb user rating: 8.7 – Years on air: 2010-2015 Even in the midst of the mania “Downton Abbey”, this famous British drama has demonstrated its share of moments “jump the shark”. Some critics point to Matthew Crowley’s spontaneous recovery after a severe injury in Serie 2 as pretty ridiculous. Most people think that the finale of the 4th series is when the show has become too stupid for its own benefit.

Fans of “Downton Abbey” are waiting for treats

Fans of Downton Abbey are grateful for any new appearances of characters they loved from the 52 series of the British series, which began coming out in America in 2011.

They will be pleased to learn that the current film “Downton Abbey: A New Era”, which was released in cinemas for general rental on Friday, is a much more separate play with plot twists similar to the film than the 2019 film. more like a typical Downton episode, only expanded.

Yes, there are beautiful television devices that do not allow crises to be too tense with quick and convenient solutions, such as when two maids, Anna (Joan Froggat) and Daisy (Sophie Maxher), solve a dilemma that baffles their employers. and the filmmaker tries to deal with the injured temperamental actress, but for the most part “Downton: A New Era” leaves room for true drama and character development beyond what was seen in the original series.

The first thing that struck me when the film started, and Downton’s famous shot from the air appeared against the background of the show’s familiar themed music, was how much older the cast looked. The daughters of the Crowley family are Mary (Michelle Dockery) and Edith (Laura Carmichael), who were the first to register as middle-aged in their youth.

Well, it’s been 11 years since we first met them.

Another difference that I noticed is how universal the old cast looked.

Several of them play spoiled aristocrats, so some polishing is expected. Whether the character lives upstairs or works downstairs, everyone looks as if they have benefited from a decade of uninterrupted pay provided by Downton.

To enjoy the “New Era,” you don’t need to be thoroughly familiar with all the things “Downton”. Much more than the first film, it works on its own.

Of course, familiarity helps, but the themes of mortality and one generation, which freely changes the other, have a resonance that does not require the experience of “Downton”.

Exceptions are references to dead or past characters such as the deceased sister of Mary and Edith, Lady Sybil, whose daughter is a major figure in the “New Age”.

For the most part, “Downton Abbey: A New Era” is hilarious, even though one of the three storylines involves the illness and death of perhaps the show’s most beloved character.

The other two storylines provide plenty of room for humor, each taking place in an setting that allows for a different story than was usual when “Downton” was a TV series.

One is the estate on the French Riviera, acquired by Violet Crowley, the widow of the Duchess of Grantham (Maggie Smith), through wives she had for more than 60 years before the New Era took place.

The question here is whether the Duchess has compromised too much her proper marriage to the father of the present Lord Grantham. Problems with parenthood also break out.

While the Downton contingent, which does not include the Duchess, travels to France to find out the details of this unexpected villa, Downton itself becomes the set, and its territory and interior are rented by a film company that wanted it because of its truly Victorian atmosphere. and furniture.

The film celebrates film production, showing its frustrations, difficulties and sudden failures. Even more amusing is what Downton’s characters, who are still played by the actors in the play, say about the actors who occupy their premises, and about show business in general.

Everything is done well, the best thing is that everything seems and sounds natural, as the domestic staff and the few family members who have remained in England oscillate between the admiration of witnesses for what they see and the horror of the audacity of the actors and crew.

The acting at Downton Abbey has always been great, but over the years it has evolved in quality. Instead of taking their characters for granted, as a long-term cast, Downton’s performers seem to be getting richer and more detailed in their roles.

Postponing for a second the favorite character of every spectator, the widow of the Duchess of Smith, my favorites have always been the clever, simple Lady Mary and the family cook Mrs. Patmar (Leslie Nicole).

In “The New Era,” Docker demonstrates nuances in the role of a woman who realized she could soon become the dominant force in Downton. She has several intricate scenes, and each is executed with masterful aplomb, in particular one of which Lady Mary has to contend with her nature to confront a romantic overture, in parallel with a more successful combination of the actor with one of Downton’s staff.

Of course, Downton has always benefited from having several of Britain’s best actors, Smith, Penelope Wilton and Jim Carter, joined by his real wife, Imelda Staunton, who will soon be the next Queen Elizabeth II in The Crown. and, as usual, pass.

There’s a hilarious scene where Staunton helps Carter buy a hat. Wilton, as always, is a picture of common sense. Downton’s star is Maggie Smith.

Smith doesn’t really need awards for her acting, but she won an Amy and a Golden Globe for her role as Violet.

Nothing in Downton’s first film mentions the Oscars, except perhaps the scenery and costumes, and “The New Era” seems to follow suit. Smith is her typical duchess, dry and witty with great advice, because when she says Mary, a woman has two choices, this is how she is perceived in the world, and Mary must strive to “be a dragon.” She gets some great details and seems to be on her way to another but not unexpected performance.

Towards the end of the New Era, something changes. The Duchess has faced controversy and has serious health problems. These situations give Smith a chance to show what great acting is. She makes two points: scenes with Wilton about letters from the French Marquis wishing her his villa, and the Duchess’s last scene, which goes beyond the script and reveals the artistry of Maggie Smith, who is now 87 years old since I first fell. in love with her brilliance, watching “VIPs” in 1963, when Smith was 29 and I was 12.

I’m not expecting an Oscar nomination for New Era, but given the depth that Smith gives and the emotions she evokes in the scenes mentioned, especially in the letter scene, Lady Maggie would deserve a nomination if she got it.

Neil Zoren’s TV column is every Monday.

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