IMPORTANT: The CenturyLink Internet Basics program is now only available to residents in the states of Oregon, Tennessee and Washington.
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 Basics 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%.)
|People in Household||All states except:
AZ, CA, KS, MI, NM, NV, OH, TX, VT
|AZ, KS, MI, NM, OH, TX||CA||NV||VT|
|1||$15,755||$17,505||$25,500||$20,423||For any size household:
Residents under 65 $23,265.00
Residents over 65 $27,142.50
|For each additional person, add||$5,481||$6,090||$6,200||$7,105|
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 Program:
Profile page: CenturyLink internet
Important note: you cannot have been a CenturyLink internet subscriber in the past and you cannot have any overdue CenturyLink bills or unreturned equipment. This is important to consider, because many Americans find themselves in the situation of already having more expensive, regularly-priced CenturyLink service and not being able to sign up for their Internet Basics program.
If you don’t qualify for Internet Basics or it’s not available in your area, head over to our Low Income Internet Services page to see other providers you can check out. And if you find you just don’t qualify for any of these low-income programs, take a look at our Other Affordable Internet Plans page. And, as always, keep up with the latest on our Cheap Internet News page.
Where is Internet Basics Available?
Internet Basics is available in
Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
Internet Basic is available in the following cities and towns:
(Note, if you see your state but not your city or town, you should still call in case CenturyLink added service to your town after our list was created.)
Oregon: Albany, Beaverton, Bend, Corvallis, Eugene, Grants Pass, Gresham, Hillsboro, Klamath Falls, Lake Oswego, Mcminnville, Medford, Oregon City, Portland, Redmond, Roseburg, Salem, Springfield
Tennessee: Bristol, Chattanooga, Cleveland, Elizabethton, Greeneville, Johnson City, Kingsport, Ooltewah
Washington: Auburn, Battle Ground, Bellevue, Bellingham, Bonney Lake, Bothell, Bremerton, Edmonds, Federal Way, Gig Harbor, Issaquah, Kent, Kirkland, Lacey, Lakewood, Longview, Lynnwood, Maple Valley, Moses Lake, Olympia, Pasco, Port Angeles, Port Orchard, Pullman, Puyallup, Redmond, Renton, Sammamish, Seattle, Shelton, Spanaway, Spokane, Tacoma, Vancouver, Walla Walla, Yakima