Providing inexpensive or even free high-speed internet to low income Americans is a rapidly growing trend. The latest news comes from San Francisco.
Residents of the city’s Hunters Point East and West HUD-assisted housing complex just received a pleasant gift from the city of San Francisco and a community-minded company called — believe it or not — Monkeybrains.
Those residents didn’t just get some ordinary internet service — they got access to blazing-fast gigabit speed internet. And we’re not talking about internet that’s shared throughout the complex. Instead, each of the 212 apartments scattered across the complex’s 27 buildings is now hardwired with its own fiber optic internet connection.
The folks at Monkeybrains say this is just the beginning. Within 18 months, they will add the same service to one thousand HUD-assisted housing units in thirteen Tenderloin and four Bayview apartment complexes.
Monkeybrains specializes in beaming high-speed internet received via rooftop antennas. The company strayed slightly from that technology for the Hunters Point when it agreed to run cable from its rooftop antennas to connect every apartment.
Ahhhh, there’s an old adage that says, “There’s no free lunch.” So what will this high-speed internet service cost?
recode.com has the surprising details:
The service will cost residents nothing for at least the next two years, and after that, Monkeybrains has agreed to not charge residents more than $20 per month. To put that in perspective, Verizon shared in April that it would start selling a subscription for gigabit internet for $70 a month.
Not free forever, but pretty darn close. However, residents will be required to pay for their own routers.
Don’t feel too bad for Monkeybrains because they didn’t do the project strictly out of the goodness of their hearts. Part of the cost was paid with a grant from the California Public Utilities Commission and additional funds provided by the Bank of America, which will also offer computer classes to recipients of the service.
As we said, this San Francisco project is just the latest step in low-income internet projects available to residents of HUD-assisted housing. Here’s a quick round-up of other, similar projects that we’ve covered in the recent past, including programs from virtually all of the nation’s leading cable TV and leading high-tech companies:
AT&T and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) have joined forces to bring low-cost $5/month Internet service to families living in HUD-assisted housing.
One high-speed internet plan for participants of SNAP, TANF and School Lunch programs. And another plan for residents of HUD-assisted housing with school age children. Cox Communications is now offering two different plans that bring high-speed Internet to financially-struggling Americans.
Seniors in all of Comcast’s markets can now apply for the company’s Internet Essentials program to obtain internet access for $9.95 per month. It’s also offering technical training, digital literacy programs, and devices for senior citizens in those communities.
If there’s one complaint we hear most often here at CheapInternet.com, it is that none of the low-income Internet plans are available to families without children. Well, Comcast and its Internet Essentials program has taken a big step toward solving that problem.
Search engine giant Google has announced that its Google Fiber project has begun offering free high-speed internet access to residents in affordable housing. This is great news for low-income Americans who simply can’t find enough spare cash in their limited budgets to pay for gigabyte speed internet service, which can cost $70 or more per month…
Please keep in mind that each of these programs have slightly different eligibility requirements and each of them is available in widely varying parts of the country.
But each and every one of them helps bring high-speed internet to low-income families that desperately need it to help bridge the digital divide.
We expect other programs like the ones above to spring up around the country. And we’ll let you know every time one of them does, because it may be the one that can help your family.