By Sergio Medina
Students can apply for affordable internet plans as low as $10 a month, offered by internet service providers in partnership with the nonprofit organization EveryoneOn, Roger Castro, director of information technology services at the Alamo Colleges, said in an interview Jan. 25.
EveryoneOn, as described by its website, everyoneon.org, is a “national nonprofit that creates social and economic opportunity by connecting everyone to the internet.”
ISP providers such as AT&T, Comcast, Cox and Google are partnered with the nonprofit. The full list of ISPs offering affordable plans as well as qualifying criteria for each ISP are accessible on EveryoneOn’s website, everyoneon.org/lowcost-offers.
The nonprofit is also accessible through the district’s website, https://www.alamo.edu/experience-the-alamo-colleges/current-students/low-cost-internet/.
Despite the district promoting the nonprofit, there is no affiliation between the two, Castro said.
“We’re trying to find programs that students can take advantage of,” he said. “It’s been a board (of trustees) priority that we try to identify programs for students that will help bridge the digital divide that is out there in terms of being able to find internet availability at their home.”
EveryoneOn is one of those programs, Castro said.
The internet plan offers are not restricted to students, Castro said.
“It could be students, it could be staff, it could be faculty,” he said.
Castro said being affiliated with the district, as a student or employee, does not benefit the individuals applying. It depends on whether applicants meet the criteria asked by the varying ISPs.
“It all really depends on how you answer the basic questions that are on the everyone.org website,” Castro said. “Basically, all they ask is if you’re low income, if you live in public housing, or if you participate in SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program).”
Application criteria varies from ISP to ISP and is available on EveryoneOn’s website.
Castro said internet speeds offered by the ISPs are not intended for heavy use such as streaming or gaming, which require more internet bandwidth.
“On average, a $10 plan should be more than fast enough to be able to get your course work done,” he said.
“It really is a need,” Castro said.