The COVID-19 health crisis has shed light on the need for home internet service, and the large number of American households in all kinds of communities who don’t have it. Some Internet Service Providers have responded with new or improved discount broadband plans, that will only be available for a short time; others continue to offer plans that were created prior to the crisis. NDIA commits to keeping this list of Free & Low-Cost Internet Plans updated daily.
While this looks like a lot of support from ISPs for people who need connections…
- Some of the biggest ISPs (Verizon, CenturyLink, Frontier, Windstream, Consolidated Communications, CableOne and others) are not (yet) on the list.
- Having a free or affordable offer is just the beginning. Getting people who aren’t online need to understand the offer; need help getting through the inevitable complications of enrolling; need affordable computers; often need basic skills training and support; and need help with the specific applications that can help them get through the crisis, including online classwork, telehealth, personal finance management, etc.
- All of these things will be much hard to do in a situation where new users can’t be asked to come to meetings and classes, or even individual lab sessions. NDIA affiliates are just starting to figure out new ways to provide these services.
- This means MARKETING and PARTNERSHIPS. Some providers like Comcast have gotten good at this; some, like Charter, haven’t. Marketing and partnerships take money.