- Last Updated on 08:00 AM 08/01/12
- BY Special to the Gazette
CenturyLink, Inc. is spreading the word about low-income assistance programs that help qualifying consumers obtain voice and high-speed Internet services.
Low-income consumers in Virginia may qualify for assistance that will reduce the cost of basic monthly telephone service.
The assistance program, known as Lifeline Affordable Telephone Service, is available to qualifying consumers in every U.S. state (territory and commonwealth). Lifeline provides discounts each month on telephone bills for qualified subscribers.
A household is limited to one Lifeline discount, even if the household has more than one telephone account or is receiving services from more than one telephone company, for example, CenturyLink and a wireless phone company.
Qualifications for participation vary by state. In states that follow the federal guidelines, the subscriber must have a household annual gross income at or below 135 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines for a household of that size; or participate in any one of the following programs: Medicaid; Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program; Supplemental Security Income; Federal Public Housing Assistance (Section 8); Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program; National School Lunch Program’s free lunch program; or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. Some states have established additional eligibility criteria.
To help get more low-income households online, CenturyLink is offering discounted high-speed Internet service starting at $9.95 per month, plus applicable taxes and fees, to eligible consumers in markets where Internet service is available. The service provides access up to 1.5 Mbps downstream capability. A qualifying customer may enroll in this service plan once, and he or she may chose a term of 12 months, which may be extended at the customer’s option on a month-to-month basis for as long as five years.
Higher bandwidth services, where available, are offered at a comparable discount.
CenturyLink is also offering program participants an Internet-ready netbook computer for $150, plus taxes, shipping and handling. The new equipment includes access to CenturyLink@Ease, a comprehensive suite of backup, security and support services.
In addition, CenturyLink is arranging basic computer education and technology training at no cost.
The classes are being offered through community groups and senior centers, as well as schools, libraries and other state and local institutions, in more than 100 markets throughout the country.
The CenturyLink Internet Basics program uses the same income and program eligibility criteria as the Lifeline and Tribal Link-Up programs.
For more information about CenturyLink Internet Basics, call 434-572-3295 or 1-800- 257-3212 or visit http://www.centurylink.com/internetbasics.