Low-cost phones and internet options to assist job search
A known challenge for job seekers is the inequity of access to internet and technology tools for people who live in rural areas or are unable to pay for popular phone or internet plans. Below are some options that may fit your situation.
LifeLine is a federal program funded by telecommunications fees that provides free phones and minutes to qualified individuals. Some providers operate in one or a handful of states; this link provides a list and links to free government cell phone regional and national carriers. Links go to a page describing the carrier’s free cell phone program, program state availability, and eligibility requirements. Compare offerings of each Lifeline carrier; not all Lifeline carriers are equal, and shopping around may access more free minutes, better cell phones or even smartphones, and cheaper add on minutes. https://smartprepaidcellphones.com/lifeline-cell-phone-providers/
Low cost internet and devices Several private companies are making internet access available at low or no cost. Affording access and devices can be a challenge. Here are specific offers from individual companies. Services may not be available in all areas.
1. Comcast: Internet Essentials https://internetessentials.com/
Internet Essentials brings affordable high-speed Internet home. Comcast is offering two months free to new Internet Essentials customers in response to recent and anticipated emergency measures associated with the Coronavirus (COVID-19). After two months, Internet Essentials costs $9.95 a month and delivers 15 Mbps download speed. Qualifying households can purchase a computer for only $149.99. There are no credit check or installation or activation fees.
People may qualify if they: (a) are eligible for public assistance programs such as the National School Lunch Program, Housing Assistance, Medicaid, SNAP, SSI and others. (b) do not have outstanding debt to Comcast that is less than a year old. Families with outstanding debt more than one year old may still be eligible. (c) live in an area where Comcast Internet service is available but have not subscribed to it within the last 90 days. The accessible website can be read in seven different languages and includes the option to video chat with customer service agents in ASL. There are also two dedicated phone numbers. For English, call 1-855-846-8376. Spanish-only speakers can call 1-855-765-6995.
2. Xfinity WiFi Free For Everyone: Xfinity WiFi hotspots across the country will be available to anyone who needs them for free – including non-Xfinity Internet subscribers. For a map of Xfinity WiFi hotspots, visit www.xfinity.com/wifi. Once at a hotspot, consumers should select the “xfinitywifi” network name in the list of available hotspots and then launch a browser.
3. Access from AT&T https://www.att.com/shop/internet/access/#!/#step1
AT&T is offering low-cost wireline home Internet service to qualifying households for $5 per month: (a) With at least one resident who participates in the U.S. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and (b) With an address in AT&T’s 21-state service area, at which we offer wireline home Internet service, and (c) Without outstanding debt for AT&T fixed Internet service within the last six months or outstanding debt incurred under this program. (d) If you are a California resident and at least one member of your household receives Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits you also may qualify based on the same requirements that apply to SNAP participants.
4. Spectrum Internet Assist from Charter www.spectrum.com/browse/content/spectrum-internet-assist
Charter is offering service of up to 100 megabits per second with installation fees waived for new student households. Charter will also open Wi-Fi hot spots across its footprint for public use. For eligible, low-income households without school-aged children, Charter continues to offer Spectrum Internet Assist, a low-cost broadband program delivering speeds of 30 Mbps.