Township helps homes gain internet access


Jonah Maple, Beginning Journalism Student

For a while now, there has been a service advertised by Lawrence Township that helps with in-home Wi-Fi for those who could not otherwise afford it. Those who qualify can be able to get a discounted Wi-Fi at their home. There are two companies that make this offer, AT&T and Comcast.

   According to one of the district technicians Alexander Atchley, in 21 states nationwide, there is a very discounted internet service provided by AT&T. Families that qualify for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, otherwise known as SNAP, or food stamps, are eligible for this service.

   AT&T offers these families $10 a month, excluding taxes, for 10 megabits per second, or Mbps. If $10 is still too much, those eligible can instead pay $5 a month for three Mbps.

There is a second program offered by Comcast as well. This program is called “Internet Essentials,” and also includes free installation. The rate for this program is $9.95 a month, excluding taxes, and offers 15 Mbps. To be eligible for this program a household needs to have at least one child eligible for the National School Lunch Program. Veterans can also qualify for this program if they are low income and receive federal or state assistance.

Atchley said that Lawrence Township used to advertise these programs.

“The two programs were advertised to the families through Canvas Announcements, given as handouts when Chromebooks were assigned and sent home with families that needed the information on an ‘as needed’ basis,” he said.

Atchley believes that these programs should be advertised more widely by the township like they used to be.

“I think it would be beneficial that we put them out again. I’ve already had talks about probably reiterating that out to everybody, to make the awareness widely known.”

Atchley also provides some ways that if these services were advertised more through the township, there would be lots of benefits.

“The hope would be that more families would be able to get a more affordable internet access so that way they do have something at home rather than needing to go to, say, the public library, or McDonalds or Subway, somewhere that provides free Wi-Fi in order to get internet.”