Internet providers offering help to low-income families
Now that the stay home order is in effect for Harris County, many families are spending more time online or need internet access but can't afford it.
Three million children in the United States do not have home internet access, according to the Associated Press.
The Federal Communications Commission urged internet and telephone providers to join the "Keep Americans Connected Pledge" during the COVID-19 outbreak. Many have stepped up to offer free internet service to low-income families and pledge not to disconnect people who are behind on payments.
AT&T is offering two months of free internet service to low-income families who are in the National School Lunch or Head Start programs. Families need to apply online by April 30. AT&T says it is also waiving overage fees, late fees and will not disconnect overdue accounts for 60 days.
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Comcast is offering its Internet Essentials program free for 60 days to low-income families that are on any form of federal assistance. They'll receive a free self-install kit and can buy a computer for just $150. Call 855-846-8376 or go to InternetEssentials.com.
Comcast has paused data caps, won't charge late fees or disconnect late customers for 60 days, and has boosted its speed to 25/3 Mbps for all customers.
Century Link says it is also lifting data limits and won't terminate late customers for 60 days.
If you sign up with Spectrum, the company is offering the first 60 days free to new student and teacher households. Call (855) 243-8892.
For cell phone customers, Verizon says it is adding 15GB to all consumer and small business plans, waiving late fees, won't terminate service, and has internet options for low-income households.
T-Mobile says it's expanding its network capacity and roaming access for Sprint customers.
Most of these companies say they are making their WiFi hotspots free.
Compudopts, an organization that refurbishes and donates computers to children in need, says demand is so high they have now started a weekly lottery for free computers. Call 713-426-2330 or go to Computdopt.org.
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