Low Income Internet Access Programs
Every once in a while the heavens align and a new product perfectly fills a need in the market. This seems to be one of those rare cases. Or perhaps three of those rare cases.
Weâ€™re talking about the three primary â€ścompetingâ€ť low cost broadband internet access programs designed for low income Americans â€“ Connect2Compete, Comcastâ€™s Internet Essentials and CenturyLinkâ€™s Internet Basics. We’ve also added an interesting pilot program in California called School2Home.
â€śI was laid off a few months ago so moneyâ€™s tight around our house,â€ť said Larry J of Fort Pierce, Florida. â€śThis low cost internet plan is going to make it easier for me to find another job.â€ť
â€śMy kids are falling behind in school because we canâ€™t afford expensive internet access,â€ť said Muriel S of Bend, Oregon. â€śAffordable broadband is going to be a lifesaver.â€ť
â€śAffordable internet is the best idea since â€¦ well â€¦ it may be the best idea ever,â€ť said Bruce C of Costa Mesa, California. â€śWhy didnâ€™t anyone think of this before?â€ť
Thatâ€™s where these programs come in. If youâ€™re in financial distress, youâ€™ll probably qualify for one of these cheap internet programs in your area.
The prices are the same for all three services, but there some differences in what each program offers consumers and eligibility requirements. Make sure you check to determine which programs are available where you live.
Some of the nationâ€™s largest cable television companies have formed a coalition in order to bring low-cost, high-speed internet service to low-income Americans. They market it under the brand name Connect2Compete. The bad news is that Connect2Compete isnâ€™t available everywhere in the country. Hopefully, itâ€™s available where you live. The good news is that the program offers you high-speed broadband access for just $9.95 per month plus … [click to continue]
The following programs are national, or have a big push behind them either by industry, government and non-profit, than do those smaller or regional programs in the next section.
Comcast, the cable TV giant, is also getting into the low-cost internet business with a program called Internet Essentials. This is very good news.
If you live in areas of the country served by Comcast and if you qualify, you can now get Internet Essentials for just $9.95 per month instead of the $40â€“60 the company had charged in the past for its lowest cost basic plan. Despite the low price, youâ€™ll get blazing fast 1.5-3.0 Mbps download speed plus a series of extras such as … [click to continue]
CenturyLinkâ€™s Internet Basics is exactly what so many families and individuals need to help them search for and apply for jobs, to follow up on job applications, to find medical care and communicate with their doctors, to help their kids with their homework, and to help them with so many other tasks that can only be done on the internet.
CenturyLinkâ€™s Internet Basics costs just $9.95 per month for qualifying low-income families. Youâ€™ll also be eligible to receive a personal computer for just $150 and … [click to continue]
On January 31, 2012 the Federal Communications Commission approved Lifeline Internet, a major expansion of the governmentâ€™s popular free cell phone program. Lifeline was originally designed to offer affordable rates on landline telephones, and was expanded to include cell phones in 1996.
Lifeline Internet is currently in a $30 million pilot program. Although cell phones and service are free under the Lifeline plan, Lifeline Internet will cost $9.95 per month. The eligibility requirements should be the same as for the Lifeline free cell phones program: either be under a certain income level or already participate in a government assistance program such as … [click to continue].
Here we list programs that are smaller than those national programs listed above.
School2Home has set an ambitious goal: To give computers to more than 500 low-performing middle schools and 400,000 students across California. It’s a pilot program started in Southern Californiaâ€™s Los Angeles and Riverside county school districts and has now expanded to Northern Californiaâ€™s Oakland Unified School District. In the future … [click to continue]
Knology is unique in that it’s been offering some residents in Kansas absolutely free broadband internet, without even being reimbursed by any government programs. No one twisted their arm, they just decided to do it to help the poor in Kansas cross the digital divide and … [click to continue]
Internet for Low Income Americans, by state
Here’s a handy table that will help you to narrow down what internet programs are available in each state. As you can see, at the moment it is primarily Internet Basics and Internet Essentials that serve most states. Connect2Competeis set to roll out in force in Fall 2012, and Lifeline Internet is only in a pilot program now. And then there are Knology and School2Home, which only serve one state each at this time. We’ll keep this table updated as things change.
IE: Internet Essentials
IB: Internet Basics
C2C: Connect2Compete (almost available)
LI: Lifeline Intenet (in pilot program only)