PCs for People to Offer Low-Cost Internet
Expanding efforts to close the digital divide by offering high speed internet at $3 per month
Saint Paul, MN (September 4, 2012) – Saint Paul, Minnesota nonprofit organization PCs for People has distributed over 15,000 computers since starting their work to bridge the digital divide in 1998. Over the years times have changed and just owning a computer is no longer sufficient for job searching, school work, research and communication. Internet has become a critical component of everyday day life and is taken for granted by most, yet is still out of reach for many families in the Twin Cities metro. The 2012 Community and Technology Survey by the City of Minneapolis shows that only 57% of Phillips and 65% of Near North residents have internet access at home. This compares to 82% of the city on average.
A couple of months ago, after increased visibility from a nice write-up in the Star Tribune, Mobile Citizen discovered PCs for People’s program. Mobile Citizen is funded by five nonprofit foundations that have been committed to bringing technology to education and nonprofit communities for over 25 years. In 2006, these foundations entered into a unique, 30-year partnership agreement with CLEAR that allows them to offer cutting-edge mobile Internet service exclusively to schools and nonprofits at a low $10 a month cost. Together Mobile Citizen and PCs for People are partnering to bring that service to low income families in the Twin Cities.
PCs for People has been interested in offering internet to their clients for years, but attempts to partner with large home internet providers never materialized. Casey Sorensen, Executive Director of PCs for People said, “We have been referring families to internet access programs, but many families are still struggling to get and keep internet.” PCs for People’s program will work directly with computer recipients and provide access with no paperwork, applications, contracts, credit checks or stipulations about prior or current service.
To mark the launch of the partnership PCs for People will be offering high speed 4G service at less than $3 per month to the first 150 people who sign up. “We are excited to offer this opportunity for the families we serve,” said Casey Sorensen. “Many families have requested that we offer internet service, but until now we were unable able to help,” Sorensen said. There are no credit checks or contracts required, but recipients must be eligible for PCs for People’s program. To be eligible each recipient must provide proof that they are below the 150% poverty level.
PCs for People is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation headquartered in St. Paul, Minnesota. Since PCs for People started in 1998, the organization has distributed thousands of computers to those in need. PCs for People is a Microsoft Registered Refurbisher, a member of the Recycling Association of Minnesota and the National Association for Information Destruction.