Discounted High Speed Internet For Non Profits
I've been doing a lot of research seeking information on securing discounted internet for 501.c.3 nonprofit organizations, and I want to share with you some of the information I've found. Most notably is the advice from Northwest Justice Project's very own Sue Encherman, Director of Administration Management. This August, The Northwest Justice Project's Yakima office relocated to a new building. Sue, who was working hard to ensure the transition between the offices went smoothly, contacted the Public Utilities Department (PUD) in Yakima to ask about discounted high-speed fiber optic internet. Although the first contact Sue spoke to didn't have any idea that the PUD could help, she informed the contact that some of the other counties in Washington provide discounted broadband to nonprofits. Shortly thereafter, the PUD contacted Sue and let her know that the Northwest Justice Project's Yakima office did indeed qualify for discounted broadband!
I'm not saying "Don't take no for an answer," but be sure to do your research so you have a leg up when you contact your PUD. Here are some more tips to help you secure discounted broadband for your nonprofit:
Like I mentioned before, your local PUD, may not even know they are allowed to provide high speed internet to nonprofits, so do your research! I've noticed that a lot of PUD websites are a little bit outdated and hard to navigate, so you might have to dig. Take your time to thoroughly search, and there is a chance that you will be able to find unintentionally hidden information on your PUD's website. It also helps to look at the Public Utilities Departments for neighboring cities.
Be a Comparative Shopper
If your PUD gives you a deal, make sure it's the best deal you can get. Know who all the internet providers in the area are, and that sometimes commercial is the way to go. If the PUD offers you a 50% discount, but charges $6,000 to install fiber, it is probably not going to be the best deal if you only have 4 people in your office.
Look for Grants
Right to internet access or right to broadband movements are growing, and a lot of them provide grants to non profits. Look for Last Mile grants and grants specific to your state or city. BroadbandUSA, committed to connected America's communities, is a good place to start.
What's the deal with Fiber
Fiber is up to 100 times faster than the average broadband speeds. According to the Washington Post, the average internet speed in America is 18.2Mbps. Fiber provides speeds up to 1,000mbps or 1 gigabyte/sec!
Photo by Michael Wyszomierski | CC BY-NC 2.0