Sierra Tel’s Covid 19 Student Internet Access Program

Effective August 13, 2020

In light of the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Sierra Tel Internet has elected to reestablish a program to assist households with low-income students enrolled in a public school in their service territory who cannot afford internet service. This program is effective August 13, 2020, to all qualifying households and will continue through December 31, 2020. The program details and eligibility requirements are set out below.

This program applies to low-income students but is not Lifeline sponsored. This program is also not a replacement for current telephone service. Services provided under this program are being temporarily donated by Sierra Tel Internet to low income students who are unable to afford internet service.

Program Features

Sierra Tel will provide:

  • Free Internet service with speeds up to 8 Mbps download and 800 Kbps upload, depending on availability (Starter or Bronze, highest available)
  • Free service installation
  • Free rental of a modem/router
  • Free basic local telephone service (no features) only if the household does not already have telephone service
    1. Free internet will be provided to those households that already have telephone service, but have no existing internet.

This program will be available until December 31, 2020. However, given that we are facing a new and unpredictable situation, Sierra Tel may continue or adjust the program, as needed. All participants in the program will have the ability to terminate their subscribership at any time or continue to receive service after the program ends by signing up for one of Sierra Tel’s service packages. If a participant wishes to purchase faster service speeds than offered through this program, options can be found at: https://www.sierratel.com/internet/

Program Eligibility

To qualify for the program, households must:

  • Be located within Sierra Tel’s service territory;
  • Live in a structure that is equipped with Sierra Tel’s local exchange facilities;
  • Have at least one household member that is enrolled at a school in the Yosemite Unified School District, Bass Lake Joint Union School District, Raymond-Knowles District, a Charter/Homeschool, or Mariposa County Unified School District.
  • Meet the low-income eligibility requirements of the California LifeLine program, which requires demonstration of income below the 150% of the federal poverty or participation in a qualifying low-income assistance program, such as the national school lunch program, and;
  • Be a new customer that does not currently have Internet service from Sierra Tel Internet.

The income thresholds for LifeLine eligibility are as follows:

Household SizeAnnual Income Limit
June 1, 2019 to May 31, 2020
Annual Income Limit
June 1, 2020 to May 31, 2021
1-2$27,500$28,700
3$31,900$32,600
4$38,800$39,700
Each Additional Member$6,900$7,100

A full list of qualifying low-income programs is available at the following link from California Public Utilities Commission: https://www.cpuc.ca.gov/General.aspx?id=2752#qualify

How to Enroll

If you believe your household qualifies for this emergency program, please contact us at 559-683-4611, 209-966-3636 or toll free at 1-877-658-4611; by email at CustomerCare@sierratel.com; or through our website at www.SierraTel.com. To protect the health and safety of our employees and customers, Sierra Tel’s business offices are closed. Orders can be handled by telephone or email.

Participation in the program will require execution of a service agreement and appropriate access to the premises to conduct necessary installation. This program is not a school-sponsored program and the school is not responsible for customer accounts.

More Information Regarding COVID-19

Sierra Tel urges all its customers to stay safe during this time of crisis and to monitor the websites of the Center for Disease Control (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html) and the California Department of Public Health (https://www.cdph.ca.gov/programs/cid/dcdc/pages/immunization/ncov2019.aspx) as this emergency situation continues to develop.