Find an internet service provider near you
Here is a helpful resource to find out what internet service providers are at your house. Click on the link to go www.broadbandnow.com, enter your address and find out which companies currently offer internet service at your address and how much it would cost.
If you don’t have access to a wired broadband service (e.g., cable or internet), it’s still possible to use a mobile hotspot to access the internet from Verizon, AT&T, or other cell service providers. Mobile data speeds have increased in the past few years and speeds are usually fast enough to video conference or Zoom.
If you only have marginal cell service at your house, a cell signal “repeater” or “booster” antenna can be installed on the roof, and this may improve the signal enough to enable video conferencing inside.
Programs for low-income Vermonters
Many more people are eligible for programs to help low-income Vermonters get connected to the internet than they realize. Comcast, Charter Spectrum, and other internet service providers have programs that offer affordable broadband internet to families in need.
Apply for Comcast Internet Essentials here.
Apply for Spectrum Internet Assist here.
Federal and State Lifeline program
Low-income subscribers may also be eligible for the Federal and State Lifeline programs, which provide a subsidy for phone and internet service. The FCC has extended special pandemic rules as well. Eligibility requirements and instructions for how to get connected can be found here and here.
All of these programs can be hard to apply for, or understand eligibility requirements. If you would like assistance in applying, or in understanding whether you are eligible, we’re happy to help, just reach out using our contact form.
COVID-19 arrearage assistance program
Vermont offers a program to help pay past utility debts for residents. While this program does not cover broadband internet, it could, for example, cover the phone portion of a bill from Consolidated Communications. More information about the program can be found here.
COVID-19 internet subsidy program
There is a range of programs available to help Vermonters navigate the impact of the COVID-19 crisis. In particular, the state of Vermont has offered a temporary subsidy to help pay for broadband internet for households that have suffered economic hardship due to COVID-19. More information, as well as the online application, can be found here.
Digital literacy resources
Technological difficulties can be incredibly frustrating. If you feel like you need a real person to call and help you figure out how to use online tools you now need to use due to the pandemic, such as videoconferencing, accessing online services like the DMV, telehealth, remote learning, or remote work, you can reach out to us for support.
If you want to learn how to use certain tools, feel free to check out these videos and guides:
Working with Computers and Devices – LinkedIn Learning
Working and Collaborating Online – LinkedIn Learning
Basic Computer Skills – Northstar Online Learning
Using Email – Northstar Online Learning
How to Sign Up for Zoom – Zoom
How to Join a Zoom Meeting – Zoom
Zoom Meeting Controls Overview – Zoom
Online scams are on the rise. Don’t forget about the state of Vermont’s resources on detecting, avoiding, and recovering from scams or identity theft. Information and resources are accessible here.