In these difficult economic times with so many people unemployed or employed only part time when they need fulltime jobs, CenturyLink 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.
If CenturyLink offers high-speed DSL internet service in your area, their Internet Basics 1.5 Mbps program for low income Americans is an excellent option for cheap broadband service.
First of all, let’s be clear that there are a few differences between the Internet Basics program and the program offered by the companies participating in the nationwide Connect to Compete program.
First, let’s cover the similarities:
Both programs offer high-speed Internet for just $9.95 a month for the first year ($14.95/month afterwards). Both programs offer a personal computer for just $150. But, Internet Basics offers free introductory computer education classes while Connect to Compete customers pay a small $1 fee per class.
The Internet Basics computer also comes with a 30-day money-back satisfaction guarantee, 24/7 technical support, plus parental controls. You’ll even get your own customizable CenturyLink home page. So far, there’s no word on whether the Connect the Compete program offers these extras.
How to Qualify for Internet Basics
Now let’s get to the primary difference between the two programs: How to qualify.
First of all, it’s important to understand that the members of the Connect to Compete alliance are all cable television companies, but CenturyLink is primarily a telephone company that also offers television through DirecTV, a separate company.
CenturyLink agreed to offer the Internet Basic plan so that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) would approve its 2011 purchase of Qwest Communications, another telephone company.
As a result of being a telephone company, CenturyLink’s Internet Basics program follows rules set up for another quasi-governmental program called Lifeline Assistance which offers discounted landline phone service and free government cell phones (link it) to the financially disadvantaged. The qualification guidelines for the two programs are identical.
In short, you probably qualify for the Internet Basics program if:
- (1) You also participate in other governmental assistance programs such as food stamps (SNAP), public housing assistance, Medicaid, Section 8 housing, Supplemental Security Income, various Home Energy Assistance Programs, National School Lunch and other programs. (Each state has it’s own programs list.)
- (2) Your household income is at or below 135% to 150% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. (Note: It’s 135% in all states except Arizona, Florida, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, Ohio, Rhode Island and Texas, where it’s 150%.)
In addition, Internet Basics is also available to families that qualify for the federal school-lunch program.
Important note: you cannot have been a CenturyLink internet subscriber in the last 90 days and you cannot have any overdue CenturyLink bills or unreturned equipment.
Internet Basics Program:
Profile page: CenturyLink internet
CenturyLink has agreed to offer the program for at least five years. There’s no guarantee that the program will continue beyond that timeframe, so we recommend that you apply as soon as possible to take advantage of this offer for as long as you possibly can.
Internet Basics is available in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.