As part of our attempt to ensure the digital divide at our schools is minimized as much as possible, our Co-op has built a high speed fiber-optic network that connects every school campus in our service area together and to the Co-op. This network transports State-provided Internet connectivity to every classroom - both wired and wireless, in every school, in our Co-op.
One hurdle we have not been able to overcome as a Co-op however, has been the digital divide that occurs in our economically disadvantaged homes in regards to Internet connectivity.
One of the largest telecommunication providers in our area has a program to help.
AT&T is offering discounted home DSL Internet access with bandwidths up to 10Mb per second for $10 per month.
It is called the "Access" Program and any household in the AT&T wire-line service area is eligible if any member living in the household is a S.N.A.P. participant.
Below is a brief overview of the program:
You qualify for the program if ANYONE living in your household is a S.N.A.P. recipient.
The rate is $10 per month for 10Mb/s Internet connectivity.
DSL and wireless router equipment are provided to the participant at no cost. (equipment may need to be returned to AT&T if the participant leaves the program - this is at AT&T's discretion, participants will need to contact AT&T to find out whether they are required to return the equipment at that time.)
There is no cost to apply to the program and no deposit required.
There is no time commitment, participants can cancel service at any time
If AT&T cannot deliver the 10Mb/s speed to your home, you may be able to get a 5Mb/s plan for the same $10. If 5Mb/s is not available and they can provide slower rates (3Mb/s, 1.5Mb/s, or 768kb/s) then the monthly service is only $5.
There is a data cap/allowance. It is 1TB of data per month.
1TB is a lot of data, but it needs to be pointed out that there are overage charges if participants go over the 1TB allowance. Those charges are predefined by AT&T to be $10 in increments of 50GB. The flyer and website mention a possible 150GB cap for some of the lower speed plans but we have called AT&T and they verified that is no longer the case and every participant gets the full 1TB data allowance, regardless of connection speed.
(as a point of reference, the $50 consumer plan available from a local provider only allows 1/4th of that amount - 250GB per month - so this $10 plan actually provides 4 times more data than that $50 plan. Most cellular data plans (even the ones called "Unlimited") have a usage cap around 22GB, which is less than a 10th of the 250GB provided by the above mentioned plan. To exceed the 1TB data allowance, you would have to watch over 10 hours of HD video on Netflix per day, every day, for an entire month.)
Participants will need to re-qualify for the program each year.
The program does ask for a Social Security number (or Federal Tax ID) and they do run a credit check - but acceptance into the program is not based on creditworthiness.
Upon acceptance into the program, AT&T will send a "self-install" kit to the household. This is usually straight forward with good instructions and telephone help available. Most households are able to get it going just fine - but, if the household is not able to get it hooked up and working on their own, a technician can be dispatched to perform the install. This on-site installation service is also provided at no cost to the participant.
Please visit www.att.com/access to apply and find more information.