Tuesday, September 11, 2012

CenturyLink Offers Back-To-School Internet Basics Program in Illinois


As students head back to school, CenturyLink, Inc. (NYSE: CTL) is spearheading efforts to help get more families online by offering its Internet Basics program to economically disadvantaged families in Illinois and throughout the nation.

“CenturyLink believes that in order to succeed at school and in life, students need to be able to go online at home. Having home Internet access is an important part of a child’s education outside the classroom and helps parents stay in touch with their child’s progress at school,” said Michael D. Brill, vice president and general manager for CenturyLink in Illinois. “CenturyLink’s Internet Basics program is designed to bridge the digital divide by bringing economically challenged families online.”

CenturyLink’s Internet Basics program supports the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)’s National Broadband Plan to expand broadband adoption and use by low-income families. In addition to discounted high-speed Internet service, an affordable Internet-ready computer and free computer classes are being offered to eligible families in CenturyLink’s local service areas.

Since implementing its program almost a year ago, CenturyLink has found that many educational systems, employers, government agencies and financial institutions are shifting more of their services online. This has been creating challenges for some low-income students, parents, and tribal families who cannot afford to have Internet access at home. CenturyLink believes its Internet Basics program and involvement with local schools, service agencies and organizations will help remove traditional barriers to high-speed Internet usage for many area residents.

CenturyLink’s Internet Basics program is available to anyone who qualifies for FCC’s Lifeline program or federal assistance programs -- such as Food Stamps, Federal Public Housing Assistance, Head Start, the National School Lunch’s free or reduced lunch program -- and who doesn’t currently have Internet access at home. For the back-to-school time period, CenturyLink is streamlining the approval process to make it easier and faster for eligible families to get online.

To help get more low-income families online, CenturyLink is offering discounted high-speed home Internet service starting at $9.95 a month, plus applicable taxes and fees, to eligible consumers in Illinois and 36 other states where the company has local operations. The service provides access to up to 1.5 Mbps downstream capability. Higher bandwidth services, where available, are offered at a comparable discount.

CenturyLink also is 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. The company also offers free technology training and computer classes to help eligible families in local service areas get online.

According to a study on broadband adoption by the Federal Communications Commission, 60 percent of low-income households, which are defined as having annual incomes of less than $20,000, do not subscribe to high-speed Internet service compared to 35 percent of the entire U.S. population. Among those Americans who do not have broadband at home, 36 percent said it was because of the cost of the service and equipment, and 22 percent cited a “lack of digital literacy.”

For more information about CenturyLink Internet Basics, please call 800-257-3212 or visit
http://www.CenturyLink.com/InternetBasics or contact a CenturyLink retail store.

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