A question has arisen about when we pay the internet subsidy ($20 per month) and when we don’t for families who already have an existing phone line and internet package.
Our principle is that we don’t offer the subsidy to families who are already paying for an internet package at the time of registration for Computers in Homes. Our programme is about helping families get an internet connection, not subsidising those who can already afford one.
This applies to families who have a fixed telephone line and wish to retain this. The lowest cost option is to simply purchase an internet package from their existing telephone service provider and our subsidy is intended to help the cover these additional costs for 12 months. Switching to UFB might be an even better deal, but that will be explored at our next coordinator hui).
Coordinators must be satisfied that families have signed up for the internet as a result of participating in Computers in Homes. A good benchmark is the date of registration – if they already have the internet before registering for Computers in homes, then that is a pretty good indicator that they are able to cover the costs. But any time after registration, we can provide the subsidy (we do need a copy of their telephone account showing the internet package has been added). Coordinators can also exercise discretion – if they feel the subsidy will make the difference to the family in terms of retaining the internet or getting into debt, they can offer the subsidy.