It’s hard to get through modern life without a phone, computer or Internet connection. Fortunately, there are a few services out there that offer low-cost Internet and free smartphones. Use the resources below to get connected to these services, and if you need help using this technology, drop into the Commons or sign up for one of the computer classes we offer.
Comcast’s Internet Essentials program provides high-speed Internet to low-income households for just $9.95 per month. There are no installation fees, no credit checks, and no long-term contracts, and you can connect to the Internet with a phone, computer, or tablet.
Through this program, you can also purchase a discounted computer for $149.99, which comes loaded with Microsoft Office and Norton Security. A payment plan is available.
You may qualify for this program if:
- You are eligible for public assistance programs such as the National School Lunch Program, Housing Assistance, Medicaid, SNAP, SSI, and more. You may also qualify if you are a veteran, a senior citizen, or a college student. If you’re not sure, ask!
- You do not have outstanding debt to Comcast that is less than a year old.
- You live in an area where Comcast Internet service is available but have not subscribed to it within the last 90 days. (Comcast is available in Philadelphia).
Apply for Internet Essentials
You can apply for this program online or by calling 855-846-8376. All you will need to apply is:
- Basic information about yourself, including your phone number and social security number
- Documents proving your eligibility, e.g. your Medicaid card, SNAP confirmation letter, public housing lease or contract, etc.
I’ve got my Internet connection. Now how do I use it?
Check out these resources to familiarize yourself with using the Internet:
- Comcast’s Learning Center: This page includes short video clips organized into lessons on everything from navigating your computer to email and online banking.
- Computer Basics: This tutorial from GCF Global takes you through a series of videos teaching you everything you need to know about computers and the Internet.
- Top 20 Internet Terms for Beginners: To understand the Internet, you need to know what these words mean.
- Computer Classes from the Free Library: Check out these upcoming technology trainings at different branches of the Free Library of Philadelphia.
- Last but not least: Don’t forget to sign up for a computer class right here at the Critical Path Learning Center!
Q Link Wireless offers free smartphones, including calling, texting, and data, to low-income individuals through a government program called Lifeline. There are no credit checks, no fees, and no monthly bills associated with this service. If you already have a phone, you can also bring your own phone to a free Q Link plan.
You may qualify for this program if:
- Your income is 135% or less than the federal poverty guidelines, OR
- You or a dependent participates in one of the following federal assistance programs: SNAP, Medicaid, SSI, Federal Public Housing Assistance, Veterans Pension and Survivors Benefit, or Tribal Programs.
This benefit is limited to one phone per household.
Apply for a Q Link phone
- Basic information about yourself, including your social security number
- One of the following documents: ID (e.g. drivers license), social security card, Medicaid card, last year’s tax return
- Either a pay stub to prove your income is at or below 135% of the federal poverty guidelines, or a card/letter proving your participation in one of the federal assistance programs listed above
You will be prompted to create an account with Q Link. This process can be a little tricky, so just try to follow their step-by-step instructions. If you need any help, any of our staff at the Critical Path Learning Center would be happy to assist you!