Low cost computers and internet connection for low income residents

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

A new program from Interconnection offers high speed mobile internet for $8 per month, with a laptop computer for $149, or internet service only for $10 per month, for people who receive benefits from DSHS, such as food stamps, or are low income.

This program is similar to CenturyLink’s Internet Basics program or Comcast’s Internet Essentials program, which also offer internet service for $10 per month and an optional laptop for $150. But Interconnection Internet is totally mobile, you don’t need to have your own housing unit, phone or cable lines to do it. Low-income people who don’t participate in any government programs are also eligible. Even people experiencing homelessness can participate in Interconnection’s low-income internet program and have internet service on any device that can access Wi-Fi (laptop, tablet, iPod, smartphone, etc.) wherever they go.

You can get the service in person right away, rather than having to apply through the mail. The service is prepaid and there is no contract or credit check, so even if you owe money from past internet bills you can get Interconnection Internet. The service is through Clear whose well-established 4G mobile Internet infrastructure is available in most cities in Washington State.

Internet access isn’t usable without a computer. InterConnection’s ten year old computer refurbishing program ensures people can purchase a quality, low-cost refurbished laptop or desktop with their Internet service, complete with a Wi-Fi card, Windows 7 Professional, Microsoft Office and antivirus software. Laptops start at $149 and include a 90 day warranty.

In order to qualify for the low cost Internet or discounted computers, you must present proof of low income (less than $1,916 per month for a single person) or proof of receiving government benefits such as Food stamps, SSI, Medicaid, TANF, State Family Assistance, Refugee Assistance, free or discounted school lunches, etc.

You must pay for a full year of service up front –that’s $99 with a computer or $120 without a computer for one full year of internet service. They do not offer monthly payment plans. You must also buy the Clear modem at the same time. There are 3 different types of modems available: The hub modem which you plug into an electrical outlet at home and can connect to multiple devices at the same time costs $36. The mobile USB laptop modem which you can plug into any computer’s USB port costs $43. The mobile hotspot, which is totally wireless and mobile, fits in your pocket, is battery operated and can connect multiple devices at the same time costs $76.

The Internet service, modem and low-cost laptops are available at InterConnection’s retail store in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood at 3415 Stone Way N. People can purchase a laptop, receive a pre-activated 4G modem, and personal instructions on how to set up the service, all at the same location and in less than an hour. Hours are 10 to 6 Monday to Friday and Saturday 10 to 5. For more information call (206) 633-1517, email or visit Interconnection's Low-Income Discounts webpage.


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