CenturyLink: Another almost-free internet plan for those qualifying for Lifeline Assistance

Many people ask if the FCC’s Lifeline Assistance program offers free internet plans to accompany its free government cell phone plans. Unfortunately, the answer is no. No, but almost.

We’ve searched far and wide and scoured the internet searching for an internet plan that was free. We know people need such a plan because they’ve related to us all the ways the internet could make their lives simpler, if only they could afford it –- helping them search for jobs, following up on job applications, researching medical care, finding medical professionals, helping their kids do their homework. And that’s just skimming the surface.

Well, good news is here. We haven’t found a free internet provider, but we have found one that’s nearly free. It’s just $9.95 per month for qualifying low-income families. That’s considerably lower than conventional plans (teaser introductory rates aside).

The company offering this outstanding deal is CenturyLink. Its “Internet Basics” program offers high-speed Internet (not that slow internet that takes forever for a page to download) for just $9.95 a month. And to make the deal even sweeter, CenturyLink is also offering a netbook computer for just $150 plus free introductory computer education classes to these customers.

You’ll have a 30-day money-back guarantee of satisfaction, and the computer will come with a security suite, 24/7 technical support and parental controls. You’ll even get your own customizable CenturyLink home page.

“While the Internet has become part of daily life for most Americans, many still aren’t connected because the cost is beyond their reach,” CenturyLink CEO and President Glen Post observed. “CenturyLink is pleased to introduce this new program that offers affordable High-Speed Internet service and computers to those who need help getting online.”

What’s behind CenturyLink’s generosity? The company agreed to offer this generous internet plan to help convince the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to approve its purchase of rival Qwest Communications.

The company agreed to offer the program for at least five years, so the sooner you apply, the better.

You may already have read about another similarly priced option from Comcast called “Internet Essentials.” The two programs sound nearly identical — broadband for ten bucks a month and a netbook for around $150. But there is one critical difference: Internet Essentials is only for families with at least one child who receives free (not discounted) school lunches via the National School Lunch Program (NSLP).

CenturyLink’s “Internet Basics” is for people who qualify for the Lifeline Affordable Telephone program, which uses the same qualification criteria as the free cell phone program does. If you qualify for one, you probably qualify for the other. Click here and select “Application Documents” for the state-by-state list. In addition, CenturyLink’s special internet plan is also available to families that qualify for the federal school-lunch program.

To find out more about CenturyLink’s special internet plan, click here.

While CenturyLink is a great choice, please also click through to the “Cheap Internet” site to read about other free or inexpensive broadband plans that could be available to you.
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