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Stuck at Home Guide: How to Get Online



Everyone knows by now that you are not supposed to go out now, except for the most basic needs, especially if you are over 60. That is social distance and it should slow down transmission of the corona virus. [19659002] So no more sitting in coffee shops, meeting a friend for lunch or going to a class in the Art Students League. But within a week, a whole new world has appeared on the internet. Online Zumba classes, pajama concerts, painting classes, religious services and more are spreading faster than the virus itself.

But what about the 41% of seniors without internet access at home? If you have connectivity & # 39; borrowed & # 39; (in a library or other location that may be closed to quarantine), or if you know someone who is not connected at home, it is important to ensure that there is access to the connection that will reach us during this strange and scary time.

"In this extraordinary time, not having the Internet at home will make many seniors socially isolated," said Charles Douglas, a spokesman for Comcast. "For their own safety, which now means more than ever, it is so important that we try to connect as many seniors as possible."

Cheap Internet Access

Many Internet service providers, including Comcast, stepped out during this COVID-1

9 emergency to provide 60 days of free Internet to seniors, those receiving SSI, Medicaid or housing assistance, and others in need. Almost all offers are the same: 60 days free, then $ 10 to $ 15 a month. Keep in mind that there is an application process to prove your eligibility – although it is a good idea for all seniors, even if they are not sure if they are, to proceed anyway.

You can also request online to get your new online service. Catch-22, you say? If you have a mobile phone (see section below) or know someone who can apply online on your behalf, is possible. Douglas from Comcast adds that if you live in a modern building with coaxial cable, you don't have to pay a technician visit. They send a free starter kit with instructions on how to use it. Visits to technicians are largely limited, but are still possible.

Not every Internet company provides service to every location in the United States. Click on the links or call the numbers provided to see if it is near you. And check if the speed is at least 25 Mbps, that's what you need to watch online video.

Here are some resources for cheap internet access:

  • Comcast Internet Essentials: 1-855-846-8376 / 1-855-765-6995 for Spanish / video chat in ASL on their site!
    • New customers get 60 days of free internet
    • Including combined modem and router
    • Increased speeds for new and existing customers
    • After 60 days the cost is $ 9.95 / month + tax
    • Intended for low-income households: eligibility changes regularly, so seniors should continue and sign up!
    • Xfinity WiFi free for everyone
    • Pausing data caps
    • No disconnects or late fees
    • Service areas in 39 states
  • Spectrum Internet Assist: 1-855-243-8892
    • New customers with a student in the household (K-college) get 60 days of free internet and installation costs waived

    • Includes modem + option to add $ 5 / month for router and wifi

    • After 60 days the cost is $ 14.99 / month + tax

    • Seniors 65+ and eligible for SSI

    • Service Areas in 45 states, including NY, CA, and TX

  • Altice Advantage: 844-358-3147
    • New customers with a student in the household (K-college) get 60 days of free internet and no installation costs
    • After 60 days the costs are $ 14.99 / month + tax
    • Including modem and router [19659012] Discounted installation costs
    • Seniors 65+ and eligible for SSI
    • Service areas include NY, NJ, TX, NC
  • Verizon: 1-800-837-4966
    • Verizon participates in the National Lifeline Program, which provides discounted internet access to applicants on low incomes.
    • Service areas include DC, DE, MA, MD, NC, NJ, NY, PA, RI, VA and CT [19659012] If you are not eligible for the Lifeline program, you can get FiOS internet from about $ 40 / month.
  • AT&T: 855-220-5211
    • Offering two months of free service to new Access customers who order before April 30, 2020. $ 5 / month or $ 10 / month after that, depending on your speed.
    • Expansion of Eligibility
    • Waive All Internet Data Costs for Home Use
    • Free Installation
    • Only up to 10 Mbps.
  • CenturyLink: 1-855-954-6546
    • Available in some rural areas
    • Participates in the National Lifeline Program
  • Viasat: 855-810-1308
    • Available in some rural areas
    • Participates in the National Lifeline Program
  • HughesNet: 1-866-347-3292
    • Satellite internet service in many rural areas
    • No low income options, but a good option if other services are not available

Use your mobile phone

If you have a mobile phone, you probably have a type of data plan. When you browse the internet or use many internet-connected apps, you are using your data. T-Mobile has delivered unlimited data to anyone with a data plan. If you don't have a data plan or don't know if you do, you can call 611 to just about any cellular provider to get customer service and find out. Or: check next to the name of your provider (AT&T, Verizon, etc.) on your phone – you will see LTE, 4G or 5G. You can view your data usage in your Settings app.

Your data plan allows you to connect to Zoom video conferences, YouTube pajama parties, and Facebook sing-alongs – although if you're a complete internet beginner, you'll need to learn how to sign up online and download apps. I recommend using your cell phone to call a smart internet user, put it on the speakerphone and then go back to the main screen to go through all the necessary steps. Good luck! If you are helping someone else, assure them that it is okay to bang on things until you get it right. They don't break the internet. Advice: almost all video conference platforms offer a free subscription. Do not enter a credit card number if this is your first internet rodeo.

Internet Hotspots for Wi-Fi

Comcast has opened its nationwide Xfinity Wi-Fi hotspots to internet seekers across the country. This works with a smartphone or a computer. If you're new to Wi-Fi, your Wi-Fi connection is likely under Settings (the icon looks like a gear stick). You will get a list of available networks. Most networks around you have a padlock symbol, indicating that they are private, but Xfinity is not. Note: open Wi-Fi networks are great, but don't use them for mobile banking or anything else that involves money because they are transparent to hackers.

New York City and many other cities also have free Wi-Fi networks. Click here to find New York municipal hotspots.


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