In the era of technology, an internet connection is a must-have day-to-day requirement for running our academic, official, personal life. If you live in or near the poverty line, you may ask, “Is there free internet for low income families?” Yes, some platforms, service providers, or government programs offer internet access at an affordable rate or free of cost.
According to the research of Bruce Leichtman(head of Leichtman Group), in the US, internet costs stand averaging at $60 per month. It is challenging for low-income families to get a suitable internet plan.
However, the current Covid-19 situation also adds a financial drop to most families. In this case, if you are eligible for any government aid, you may get a discount or free internet access as well.
There are some providers available that launch internet programs regarding low-income families or aged persons. Some providers offer discounts or cost-cutting on internet packs regarding particular conditions.
They also provide cheap internet services on specific income-based requirements. We have gone through deep research, and here we’ll break down all the plans and details thoroughly.
- The LifeLine Program
- Lifeline Subscription through Government Assistance Programs
- Top 5 Provider Offered Low-Income Internet Programs
- 1. AT&T Low-Income Internet Access
- 2. Spectrum Internet Aid
- 3. Xfinity Low-Income Internet Essentials
- 4. Cox Low-Cost Home Internet
- 5. Mediacom Affordable Internet
- Final Verdict
Is There Free Internet For Low Income Families
You can get access to low-cost internet access for your household. There are a few government programs for low-income families. Moreover, some providers also come with a wide range of plans and programs for low-income families. Following this, we will go deep into them!
Government-Funded Broadband Internet Assistance
For low-income families and aged people, the government allocated some programs and projects that ease easy access to the internet for all. The EBB and Lifeline programs are the leading ones, to name some free government cell phones internet plans. However, there are many other programs and services available. But here, we’ll discuss these two in detail.
Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) Program
The EBB(Emergency Broadband benefit) is a federal communications program that started in April 2021. After qualifying for the EBB program, you can get access to cheaper internet broadband services. This Federal Communications Commission project provides emergency internet at a reduced cost.
If you qualify for the program, you can get up to a 50 dollar discount on internet plans and packages. Furthermore, if you live in any tribal lands, you can get 75 dollars off on internet bills and expenses. All the eligible participants can also get up to a $100 discount on computer or tablet purchases.
Qualification Requirements: The EBB program is specifically suitable for households since it is a broadband benefit project. You have to fill out the following requirements to qualify for EBB.
- You need to participate in ISP offered low-income or pandemic relief programs.
- Subscribe to the Lifeline program
- Accept all the SNAP(Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits
- If your kids receive complimentary or discount-based lunch/breakfast at school
- If you miss your job and your revenue goes down than preceding year
- You are on the Medicaid program
- If you are a Pell grant recipient
The EBB project offers free internet or broadband services if you live underneath the poverty line. Moreover, they may aid you with direct financial help if you require it.
Sometimes the Government Cash Aid Program offers you a broadband line from public funds or pays your WiFi bills. In the prevailing circumstance, you get affordable internet service access free of cost.
The LifeLine Program
FCC(Federal Communications Commission) comes with a comprehensive plan that offers heavily discounted internet access. The Lifeline program covers almost 50 states with free internet for low income families or discounts on mobile or tablet purchases.
It enables a discount of up to $9.25 per month on your cell phone costs or broadband bills. Note that it doesn’t provide a deal on both criteria. Moreover, you can get a one-time discount for a single household line.
For the ongoing pandemic, FCC added six conditions for the Lifeline project, continuing until December 2021. They are- re-verification, de-enrollment, re-certification, income documenting, subscriber usage, and info of tribal land residents.
Qualifying Programs: If you want to get Lifeline internet access, you need to get into one of these FCC programs listed below.
- FPHA(Federal Public Housing Assistance)
- SNAP(Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program)
- SSI(Supplemental Security Income)
- Veteran Pensions or Survivor Advantage Program
Lifeline Subscription through Government Assistance Programs
If you want Lifeline discounts, you need to be eligible for one of these FCC programs, as mentioned earlier. First, you need to show proof of qualification, a card, or an award from these programs.
After clarifying your eligibility, you have to pick a suitable internet plan from your local provider and send an access request. After that, accurately provide your necessary data(name, ID, SSN, birth date, address).
Following this, your picked provider will process your overall request application. If you pass by all the proceedings without obstacles, you will get an approval letter. Then, sign up, and you will receive discounts afterward on your monthly internet bill.
Top 5 Provider Offered Low-Income Internet Programs
For providing a free or discount on the internet, several free internet providers offer their tailored low-income aid plans. You need to meet the income requirement or get any government program subscription. A few providers may require new users or someone who doesn’t have any outstanding bills with the corresponding provider.
1. AT&T Low-Income Internet Access
At a low cost of $5 to $10 per month, you can get up to 10 Mbps internet access from AT&T. This plan is reasonable for basic surfing and browsing on the internet or performing basic tasks. Since it is an AT&T internet for low income families plan, you need no installment fees, no deposit, and no contract.
You can also get access to a free WiFi modem and 30000 AT&T hotspots throughout the country. For qualifying, one resident of the household needs to be included in the SNAP program. You also need to reside in the selected AT&T free internet coverage area and don’t have any outstanding fees for the last six months.
2. Spectrum Internet Aid
Spectrum launched an internet program named, Spectrum Assist which offers cheap or free internet service to eligible applicants. It provides 30 Mbps monthly internet access at 14.99 dollars per month. You can add a home router into this plan by paying an additional 5 dollars per month.
Spectrum discount internet plan no extra installment fees, contract, or deposit for subscribing. For qualification, you or any member of your household need to be in the SNAP program, NSLP(National School Lunch Program), CEP(Community Eligibility Provision), or Supplemental Security Income(for 60+ aged people).
3. Xfinity Low-Income Internet Essentials
Xfinity Essentials is an internet or broadband program for low-income families that offers a wide range of benefits. If you are eligible for this plan, you can get up to 15 Mbps of high-speed internet at 9.95 dollars per month. They also include an additional home WiFi free of cost.
The low-income participants can also get a computer at just $149 with an additional tax. For qualification, your child needs to be eligible for the NSL program. You can qualify if you get Housing assistance, a verified veteran, or a college student who lives in Colorado or Illinois.
4. Cox Low-Cost Home Internet
You can also avail of low-cost or free internet access from Cox if you qualify in their regarded criteria. Cox offers a low-cost home internet plan named Cox Connect2Compete, which starts at 9.95 dollars per month. Under $10, you can get access to a full-speed 15 Mbps broadband service.
In addition to that, eligible participants can also get a free WiFi modem without any installment charge, contacts, or deposits. To qualify for this program, at least one K-12 student of that household needs to be in one of the programs mentioned below. The programs are NSLP, SNAP, Public Housing, and TANF(Temporary Assistance for Needy Families).
Contact their helpline number (855) 222-3252 or visit their Connect2Compete page to check your eligibility. If you don’t qualify for this plan, you can get 10 Mbps free internet for the first month in the Cox Starter 10 Plan.
However, from the second month, you need to pay 19.99 dollars per month for further continuation. This plan will go further up to 12 months at this rate.
5. Mediacom Affordable Internet
Mediacom launched a low-cost internet plan named Connect2Compete(the same as Cox). In this plan, the eligible members can get up to 10 Mbps of high-speed internet access pricing about $9.95 per month.
You can get a modem WiFi at a no-cost lease. Just like other providers, Mediacom offers you the plan at no installation fee, no contract, no equipment rental cost, and no deposit.
At least one K-12 school-going student of your household needs to be involved in the FCC-approved NSLP program. Moreover, you have to be an older user of the Mediacom internet.
If you were a previous customer of Mediacom, you have to clear all the previous fee histories. You can contact the helpline number (855) 904-2225 or visit Mediacom’s Connect2Compete page to check your eligibility.
If you are not eligible for this plan or a new user of Mediacom, you can also get a great offer at a reduced cost. Mediacom allows Access Internet 60 Plan, which delivers up to 60 Mbps internet access at just 19.99 dollars/month. This rate will go up in the next 12 months. However, this offer is available at 10 dollars/month discount rate from the regular price tag.
Now you know well is there free internet for low income families available or not. Yet, if you struggle to get qualified for any of the above programs/plans, don’t be disappointed.
You can visit other providers that offer internet at a reduced rate or sometimes enable free internet. Go and buy the equipment on your own to reduce internet costs and additional hidden fees. However, there is public WiFi available at cafes, libraries, and streets that have free internet.