Good news for everyone who’d like to have home internet access but can’t afford it: several local internet providers are discounting their services during the coronavirus outbreak.
The internet can be a lifeline right now, a way for those of us sheltering in place to get important information about what’s going on, and to stay connected with family, friends, and the larger world. Internet access gives us the ability to shop from home for groceries and other necessities, to have face-to-face health care appointments and to keep up the connections (social, religious, mental health, etc.) that help us maintain equilibrium in challenging times.
But for those living on fixed incomes, a category that includes many seniors and Mechanics’ Institute members, the cost of going online can be prohibitive--a standard monthly bill for internet service may run $50 or more. Now multiple providers are offering low-cost internet service to eligible San Francisco residents (click here for detailed information from the City of San Francisco). If you live outside the City, please check with individual providers to see if service is available at your address.
Currently, discounting providers include:
AT&T Access: Home internet service is free for two months for new customers who sign up by May 23, with a monthly charge of $5-$10 after that date. Free installation and in-home Wi-Fi. Applicants must live in a household that receives benefits from Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP). Call (855) 220-5211 to sign up.
Comcast Internet Essentials: Home internet service is $9.95 a month, plus tax, with the first 60 days of service provided at no charge. Free installation and in-home Wi-Fi. Applicants must live in a household that is eligible for public assistance programs. Call (855) 846-8376 to sign up.
Sonic: Home internet service is free for three months for new customers; regular rates apply thereafter. Free installation and in-home Wi-Fi. Eligible applicants include seniors (60 and over) and educators, among others. Call (888) 766-4233 to sign up.
Monkeybrains: Home internet service is $35 a month. Free installation. Eligible applicants must live in a household with a San Francisco Unified School District student. Call (415) 974-1313 to sign up.
Note that most of these low-cost offers are linked to the duration of the pandemic so if you’re interested, now is the time to explore the options. Stay safe, and hope to see you online soon!