Girl virtual learning via internet

Recently, a photo of two children sitting outside a California Taco Bell to use the restaurant’s WiFi drew attention to the often-overlooked “digital divide” in the age of virtual learning.

Even though it’s easy to think “everyone” has access to the internet these days, that’s simply not true. Schools sometimes have access to hot spots, but they’re few and far between. So, what other options are out there? 

The good news is, if you qualify for government assistance programs (specifically the National School Lunch Program for free or reduced lunch), you can apply for access to three local low-cost internet options that are available right now. 

Option 1: T-Mobile for Education

T-Mobile has two different options for internet plans — one model for individual parents, and one model that is meant for districts and administrators. For individual parents, there are $10 and $20 per line/month options, with a 24- or 12-month commitment. Depending on the plan, either a $100 or $200 credit toward a mobile device purchase (such as a hotspot, Chromebook, etc.) or a free/discounted mobile hotspot is included. They have a lot of options for families and are worth checking out first!

More information can be found here.

Option 2: Xfinity Internet Essentials

Xfinity Internet Essentials from Comcast advertises a basic internet package with WiFi and access to WiFi Hotspots for $9.95 plus tax, and it includes two months of free service due to the coronavirus emergency. There is no term contract or credit check necessary.

More information can be found here.

Option 3: Spectrum Internet Assist

Spectrum also has a plan available for qualified households, which includes a free modem, high-speed internet, no data caps, and no contracts. Optional in-home WiFi service is available at $5 per month. Although it is unclear how much this service actually costs, it usually runs around $20 based on your qualifications. 

More information can be found here.

Chelsey Weaver
Chelsey is a "central Mass" girl who married her 7th-grade sweetheart. She attended both undergraduate and graduate school in Boston, then taught high school on the North Shore for seven years. After living in Winchester and Melrose for several years (and moving too many times), she and her husband finally settled in Groveland in 2015. She loves the North Shore and everything it has to offer, and she enjoys raising her daughter there. Chelsey is the community engagement coordinator for Boston Moms and is mostly a stay-at-home mom. She spends lots of time advocating for children with disabilities, arguing with insurance companies, and looking for disabled influencers, inclusive companies, and materials that celebrate neurodiversity. She avidly listens to audiobooks, hates everything about coffee, and, most importantly, loves being a mom.