Comcast and RCN have been selected as ‘wired’ Internet Service Providers for this program due to their ability to connect homes with reliable broadband service at affordable rates. T-Mobile has been selected as the primary cellular data provider for the program. Chicago Connected will continue to work to onboard additional partners as needed.
The overarching program is funded for four years. Participant eligibility will be re-assessed each year. At minimum, households selected for year one will have internet access guaranteed until 8/31/21. Households that remain eligible each year may receive up to a full four years of high speed internet.
CPS will contact eligible households through direct mail, emails, robocalls, and text messages. As well, each CPS Principal will be provided a roster of eligible students and the CPS Team plans to add a lookup function to the cps.edu/chicagoconnected website.
Outstanding debt is NOT a barrier to joining Chicago Connected. ISPs will not engage in collection activities for Chicago Connected families, however, payment plans may be offered to assist families in addressing outstanding obligations. Internet services will not be affected by any such activities.
Eligible families CAN join this program if they have pre-existing debt with an ISP. It is important that eligible families identify themselves as a Chicago Connected participant when speaking to Comcast or RCN.
Yes, families should expect to see a final bill for the services they had consumed before the cutover date.
Chicago Connected is available without cost to eligible families. There are no monthly out-of-pocket subscription fees or installation charges and past debt to an ISP is not a barrier for families who choose to participate in the program. In the event a participant elects a service feature with potential fees the eligible participant will receive advance notice or be asked to acknowledge they are electing an option with potential costs.
No, Chicago Connected membership codes are not transferable. Internet service providers have been given a list of specific households and will validate when contacted.
If you have multiple students in the home you can use any of the codes provided when activating with your ISP. At that point, there is no use for the other unused codes. The program opted to send invitations to each student to add an extra measure of assurance that the household would be accommodated.
No, Chicago Connected eligibility is non transferable. Unused codes cannot be provided to another family.
In this case, the family will be given a hotspot for accessing the internet. They should contact their local school and inform them of the situation and the school can make a request for a hotspot of ITS.
In this case, if requested the family will be converted to a hotspot customer. They should contact their local school and inform them of the situation and the school can make a request for a hotspot of ITS. Wired service for these families will be cancelled.
Yes. Protecting families’ consumer rights are critical components of our terms with internet service providers. The program has no monthly subscription cost for participating families, and there will be no fees for installation or equipment. Should a household no longer be eligible for the program because a student has graduated from CPS or experiences other changes in eligibility, the providers cannot bill them for continued internet service without their permission.
Participating households who are able to have wired internet service will receive internet service speeds of 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload. This speed level is necessary to ensure quality video streaming and video conferencing using multiple devices.
While the focus of the first phase is primarily focused on wired households, the initiative will provide for hotspot service for students in temporary living situations and eligible households that do not have access to wired line in their neighborhood.
Who is eligible?
Eligibility is determined using a weighting of factors including free and reduced price lunch status, Medicaid qualifications, community hardship index using the UIC Hardship Index, and also considers programmatic factors such as diverse learners, english language learners and students in temporary living situations (STLS). This model has been designed to ensure families with the highest need are first in line for free internet service.
No. Families have the option of providing a social security number to confirm identity, but it is not a requirement and families can join the program without providing a social security number. A list of acceptable identifications can be found here.
Families who qualify for this program will be offered free internet and those with existing internet will have the option to transition to this program if they choose.
Families living in temporary housing situations have been provided wireless internet hotspots and the district will be continuing that service for any STLS student in need. STLS students that have not already received a hotspot should reach out to their local school for next steps.
CPS will contact eligible households through direct mail, emails, robocalls, and text messages over the summer.
How do I get connected?
The Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are able to do most installations remotely through self-installation kits and over the phone. Where this is not feasible, the ISPs have protocols to ensure they can safely install the internet in a household.
CPS will notify eligible families July-October through robocalls, text messages, and U.S. mail. Families will be provided with sign-up information and additional details about the program.
Yes. Protecting families’ consumer rights are critical components of our terms with internet service providers. The program is free of charge, there will be no fees for installation or equipment and families won’t receive a bill. Should a household no longer be eligible for the program because a student has graduated from CPS or experiences other changes in eligibility, the providers cannot bill them for continued service without their permission.