MONROE, La., Oct. 3, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- CenturyLink, Inc. (NYSE: CTL), one of the nation's leading Internet service providers, today introduced CenturyLink Internet Basics to improve and promote broadband adoption and use by low-income consumers.

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To help get more low-income households online, CenturyLink is offering discounted High-Speed Internet service starting at $9.95 a month, plus applicable taxes and fees, to eligible consumers in the 37 states where it has local operations. The service provides access up to 1.5 Mbps downstream capability. Higher bandwidth services, where available, are offered at a comparable discount.

CenturyLink also is offering program participants an Internet-ready netbook computer for $150, plus taxes, shipping and handling. The new equipment includes access to CenturyLink@Ease™, a comprehensive suite of backup, security and support services.

"While the Internet has become part of daily life for most Americans, many still aren't connected because the cost is beyond their reach. CenturyLink is pleased to introduce this new program that offers affordable High-Speed Internet service and computers to those who need help getting online," said CenturyLink CEO and President Glen F. Post, III.

In addition, CenturyLink is arranging basic computer education and technology training at no additional cost to Internet Basics customers. The classes are being offered through community groups and senior centers, as well as schools, libraries, and other state and local institutions, in more than 100 markets throughout the country.

The first phase of the free computer learning program is starting this fall in Foley, Ala.; Dumas, Ark.; Eagle, Colo.; Tallahassee, Fla.; Phoenix; Galesburg, Ill.; Franklin, Ind.; Billings and Great Falls, Mont.; Las Vegas; Farmington, N.M.; Rockingham, N.C.; Lorain, Ohio; Columbia River Gorge, Ore.;  Greenwood, S.C.; Seattle and Yakima, Wash.; and Glenwood  City, Wis. Other communities where the training is taking place will be announced in 2012.

"Technology training and education are essential for competing and succeeding in the world's expanding digital economy," Post said. "Through this program, CenturyLink is increasing the availability of Internet access, tools and resources for bringing new opportunities to families in our communities."

Participation in CenturyLink Internet Basics is determined by the criteria for the Lifeline Affordable Telephone Service, a federal program currently offered by CenturyLink that provides discounts on basic monthly telephone service to eligible low-income consumers.

According to a study on broadband adoption by the Federal Communications Commission, 60 percent of low-income households, which are defined as having annual incomes of less than $20,000, do not subscribe to High-Speed Internet service, compared to 35 percent of the entire U.S. population. Among those Americans who do not have broadband at home, 36 percent said it was because of the cost of the service and equipment, and 22 percent cited a "lack of digital literacy."

For more information about CenturyLink Internet Basics, please visit http://www.centurylink.com/internetbasics

About CenturyLink

CenturyLink is the third largest telecommunications company in the United States. The company provides broadband, voice and wireless services to consumers and businesses across the country and advanced entertainment services under the CenturyLink™ Prism™ TV and DIRECTV brands. In addition, the company provides data, voice and managed services to business, government and wholesale customers in local, national and select international markets through its high-quality advanced fiber optic network and multiple data centers. CenturyLink also is recognized as a leader in the network services market by key technology industry analyst firms, and is a global leader in cloud infrastructure and hosted IT solutions for enterprises through Savvis, a CenturyLink company. CenturyLink's customers range from Fortune 500 companies in some of the country's largest cities to families living in rural America. Headquartered in Monroe, La., CenturyLink is an S&P 500 company and is included among the Fortune 500 list of America's largest corporations. For more information, visit www.centurylink.com.

SOURCE CenturyLink, Inc.