Apparently taking a cue from Comcast’s Internet Essentials program, CenturyLink is implementing CenturyLink Internet Basics to improve and promote broadband adoption and use by low-income consumers. To help get more low-income households online, the telco is offering discounted high-speed Internet service starting at $9.95 a month, plus applicable taxes and fees, to eligible consumers in the 37 states where it has local operations. The service provides up to 1.5 Mbps downstream capability. Higher bandwidth services, where available, are offered at a comparable discount.

CenturyLink also is offering program participants an Internet-ready netbook computer for $150, plus taxes, shipping and handling. In addition, CenturyLink is arranging basic computer education and technology training at no additional cost to Internet Basics customers. The classes are being offered through community groups and senior centers, as well as schools, libraries, and other state and local institutions, in more than 100 markets throughout the country.

The first phase of the free computer learning program is starting this fall in Foley, Ala.; Dumas, Ark.; Eagle, Colo.; Tallahassee, Fla.; Phoenix; Galesburg, Ill.; Franklin, Ind.; Billings and Great Falls, Mont.; Las Vegas; Farmington, N.M.; Rockingham, N.C.; Lorain, Ohio; Columbia River Gorge, Ore.;  Greenwood, S.C.; Seattle and Yakima, Wash.; and Glenwood  City, Wis. Other communities where the training is taking place will be announced in 2012.

Participation in CenturyLink Internet Basics is determined by the criteria for the Lifeline Affordable Telephone Service, a federal program currently offered by CenturyLink that provides discounts on basic monthly telephone service to eligible low-income consumers.

Comcast’s criteria for its Internet Essentials program is based on the National School Lunch Program. (For more, see Comcast Adds More ‘Internet Essentials’ Venues).

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