Frequently Asked Questions

How does it work?

Who are the Internet Service Providers partnering in this program?

Comcast and RCN have been selected as Internet Service Providers for this program due to their ability to connect homes with reliable broadband service at affordable rates. Additional service providers may be added to the initiative as it moves forward.

How long will this program last?

Eligible households will receive up to four years of high speed internet. Eligibility will be assessed on an annual basis.

How will I know if my family is eligible?

CPS will contact eligible households through direct mail, emails, robocalls, and text messages over the summer.

How much will this program cost?

Chicago Connected is free to eligible families. There are no out-of-pocket expenses or installation fees for families who choose to participate in the program.

What internet speeds will be provided to households?

Participating households who are able to have wired internet service will receive internet service speeds of up to 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload. This speed level is necessary to ensure quality video streaming and video conferencing using multiple devices.

Is this only a wire-line program or will wireless be used?

While the focus of the first phase is primarily focused on wired households, the initiative will continue to provide hotspot service for STLS students and will purchase additional hotspots for non-wired homes for students most in need.

Who is eligible?

Who is eligible?

Eligibility will be determined using a weighting of factors including free and reduced price lunch status, Medicaid qualifications, community hardship index using the UIC Hardship Index, as well as special student populations such as diverse learners, English 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.

How will eligible families be contacted for this program?

CPS will contact eligible households through direct mail, emails, robocalls, and text messages over the summer.

What about families that are already signed up for the internet?

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.

What will this program do to connect families living in temporary housing?

Families living in temporary housing situations have been provided wireless internet hotspots and the district will be continuing that service for up to four years for eligible students.

How do I get Connected?

How will families get connected safely given COVID19?

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.

What is the process a family goes through to get connected?

CPS will notify eligible families in the coming weeks through robocalls, text messages, and U.S. mail. Families will be provided with sign-up information and additional details about the program.

Are there safeguards to prevent internet service providers from increasing pricing or adding more services?

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.

Do children have the devices they need to access the internet?

CPS recently distributed over 128,000 devices to students lacking a device at home and will continue to work with schools and families to ensure that students have the resources they need to succeed. In addition, there are efforts in the city to provide donated devices to households that need one that, while not part of this program, we have been working to coordinate with to ensure our highest need households have a home device for the family.

Page Last Modified on Thursday, June 25, 2020