We’ve done our best to make it simple for you to learn about the various cheap internet programs for low-income Americans, but we understand that it can be confusing because there are so many plans, and they have different eligibility rules, different geographic availability, and not all are fully implemented yet.
We’ve written this page to help you more easily find the right plan for you. Please read the entire page to get a handle on what programs are available.
Low-Income Internet vs Cheap Internet Service vs Free Internet
There are three main links in the navigation menu above that represent the broad categories of low-cost internet programs available.
- Low-Income Internet: these are created specifically to provide high-speed internet access to people who are having financial difficulties. Some programs are government-sponsored, some are provided by industry, and others are smaller regional programs started by grass roots or non-profit organizations. All of the programs offer high-speed internet access for under $10 a month.
Non income-based, low-cost Internet Service: If you cannot qualify for a low-income internet program, you’re not out of luck yet. We’ve identified several companies that you can get connected through which are not as expensive as the typical cable or DSL internet companies. Click the menu link in the header named “More Cheap Plans.”
Free Internet: Believe it or not, you can get free internet from a few providers. They are meant for light usage, but maybe that’s all you need. The companies provide cheap, affordable Internet at no monthly fee, hoping to upgrade you someday to a paid account.
We cannot tell you which program you qualify for, either by need or by location. The only way for you to know is to go through the program pages we described above and if you think the program is for you, go to the the programs website and enter your address to see if it’s available at your location.
Lifeline Internet program coming soon
- Lifeline Internet is going to be an expansion of the federal Lifeline Assistance program which provides free cell phones or discounted landline phones to low-income Americans. By already being on government assistance like SNAP and Medicaid, for instance, you will qualify. You can also qualify strictly on your income if it is below 135-150% of the Federal Poverty Level (depending upon state). Lifeline Internet is currently in a $30 million pilot program. Once they work out the details though the pilot, they will set the final rules and roll it out. We do not yet know if it will be free or if they will charge a minimal monthly fee. The FCC is really interested in this, and we think you could see availability by the end of the year. Keep checking back for updates.
New programs are rolling out all the time
Bridging the “Digital Divide” by helping low-income Americans obtain high-speed broadband internet is an important goal of the federal government, state government, cities, non-profits and private companies. There is a massive push to get everyone in America connected as inexpensively, and as quickly, as possible. You need to keep up to date on both the existing and upcoming programs. The #1 source of this information is CheapInternet.com, so be sure to bookmark the site and check back often. You can also keep updated on any important news by following us on Facebook or subscribing to our free email updates.
We’re here for you. And, please, tell your friends about us so that they to can get the broadband they need in today’s world.