Low Income Internet Service Providers

Cheap broadband internet plans have been created by public-private partnerships, to bring high-speed, wireless internet access to those who cannot afford typical expensive plans.

There are several major, “competing” low-income internet service programs designed for financially-struggling Americans – Comcast’s Internet Essentials, CenturyLink’s Internet Basics, and Cox and Bright House Networks’ low income internet plans. In addition, Connect2Compete’s site may help in finding low-income internet service, although it is best suited for finding training. We’ve also added an interesting national pilot program we’re calling Lifeline Internet, as well as a few regional programs.

If you qualify, these low-income internet service providers can help you get online, with broadband internet speeds for a very, very low monthly rate and no contract hassles.

“I was laid off a few months ago so money’s tight around our house,” said Larry J of Fort Pierce, Florida. “This low cost internet plan is going to make it easier for me to find another job.”
“My kids are falling behind in school because we can’t afford expensive internet access,” said Muriel S of Bend, Oregon. “Affordable broadband is going to be a lifesaver.”
“Affordable internet is the best idea since … well … it may be the best idea ever,” said Bruce C of Costa Mesa, California. “Why didn’t anyone think of this before?”

That’s where these programs come in. If you’re in financial distress, you’ll probably qualify for one of these low-income internet plans in your area.

The prices are the same for all these services, but there some differences in what each program offers consumers and in the eligibility requirements. Make sure you check to determine which programs are available where you live.

Major Programs

Internet Essentials

Comcast, the cable TV giant, is the biggest player in the low-income internet assistance business with a program called Internet Essentials. This is very good news.

If you live in areas of the country served by Comcast and if you qualify, you can now get Internet Essentials for just $9.95 per month instead of the $40–60 the company charges for its lowest cost basic plan. Despite the low price, you’ll get blazing fast 5.0 Mbps download speed, the option to purchase a computer for $150, plus a series of extras such as… [click to continue]

Cox Low-Income Internet

Cox Communications is one of the nation’s largest cable companies, with millions of subscribers. While they don’t trumpet their program as loudly as Comcast does theirs, and their coverage across the country isn’t as extensive, their low-income program has much broader eligibility rules.

Cox’s low-income internet plan will give you unlimited cable internet at broadband speeds of 5 Mbps download, no contract or extra fees, and the option to purchase a computer for $150. It’s available to Americans who… [click to continue]

Internet Basics

CenturyLink’s Internet Basics is exactly what so many families and individuals need to help them search for and apply for jobs, to follow up on job applications, to find medical care and communicate with their doctors, to help their kids with their homework, and to help them with so many other tasks that can only be done on the internet.

CenturyLink’s Internet Basics costs just $9.95 per month for qualifying low-income families. You’ll also be eligible to receive a personal computer for just $150 and… [click to continue]

Mediacom Low-Income Internet

In 23 states, Connect2Compete partner Mediacom offers high-speed internet service for just $9.95 to families who are struggling with low household income.

Their internet plan provides a 1.5 Mbps speed cable connection, and an option to be able to purchase a computer for as low as $162 and a tablet for as low as $142. Eligibility requires… [click to continue]

Bright House Networks Low-Income Internet

Bright House Networks is the sixth largest cable company, with about 2.5 million customers. Under the Connect2Compete banner, they offer internet service to people who could otherwise not afford it.

Bright House’s low-income internet plan provides unlimited cable internet at speeds of a minimum of 1 Mbps download. While that’s not exactly super fast, it’s certainly fast enough for $9.95. And there are no contracts or extra charges. Additionally, they offer an option to purchase a computer for $150. Availability is… [click to continue]


VTX1 is another one of those community-minded cable companies that participates in the EveryoneOn/Connect2Compete coalition. That means they offer high speed, low-cost internet access to low income residents of the areas they serve in Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. Available to students and families that qualify for the National School Lunch Program, it’s a little higher priced at $14.95 but still lower than regular cable… [click to continue]


Suddenlink also participates in the EveryoneOn/Connect2Compete coalition to offer high speed, low-cost cable internet access to low income residents of the areas they serve in Arkansas, Arizona, California, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia. The program is available to families who have a child who could qualify for… [click to continue]


Many of the nation’s largest internet service companies are working with Connect2Compete to bring low-cost, high-speed internet service to low-income Americans. The Connect2Compete organization hooks up Americans with various companies that will provide high-speed internet access for under $15 a month, usually under $10. In addition, they can help you find a low-cost computer and free computer and internet training… [click to continue]

The following programs are national, or have a big push behind them either by industry, government and non-profit, than do those smaller or regional programs in the next section.

Lifeline Internet

On January 31, 2012 the Federal Communications Commission approved Lifeline Internet, a major expansion of the government’s popular free cell phone program, to include broadband Internet service. Lifeline Internet is currently in a $30 million pilot program, slated to end in 2013. Our Lifeline Internet page shows the status of the various programs in 21 states and Puerto Rico.

Although cell phones and service are free under the Lifeline plan, Lifeline Internet will could cost up to $9.95 per month, but then again, no one is certain yet — it’s possible there might be no cost. The eligibility requirements should be the same as for the Lifeline free cell phones program: either be under a certain income level or already participate in a government assistance program such as… [click to continue].

Senior Internet Service

Through no fault of their own, many seniors can’t afford even the most necessary of things, like a broadband internet connection. Yes, being connected to the internet is necessary in today’s world.

So many needy seniors have contacted us asking about asking why the government and various companies seemingly help everyone but them. Just where is cheap internet for seniors… [click to continue]

Other Programs

Here we list programs that are smaller than those national programs listed above.


School2Home has set an ambitious goal: To give computers to more than 500 low-performing middle schools and 400,000 students across California. It’s a pilot program started in Southern California’s Los Angeles and Riverside county school districts and has now expanded to Northern California’s Oakland Unified School District. In the future… [click to continue]

Knology Lifeline Internet

Knology is unique in that it’s been offering some residents in Kansas absolutely free broadband internet, without even being reimbursed by any government programs. No one twisted their arm, they just decided to do it to help the poor in Kansas cross the digital divide and… [click to continue]

Interconnection (WA only)

Interconnection now offers needy Washingtonians a variety of low-priced services: High speed mobile internet for just $8 per month or internet service only for $10 per month, plus a laptop computer for just $149… [click to continue]

Low-Income Internet, by state

Here’s a handy table that will help you to narrow down what internet programs are available in each state. As you can see, Internet Basics and Internet Essentials serve the most states. (This table is in the process of being updated…)


IE: Internet Essentials
IB: Internet Basics
COX: Cox Cable
BHN: Bright House Networks
MC: Mediacom
C2C: Connect2Compete
LI: Lifeline Internet (in pilot program only)

New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Washington DC
West Virginia

We hope you’ve found that one of the cheap internet plans work for you.


Need help understanding what’s available for you? Read our help page.




  1. BD says

    I talked with Time Warner Corp. this past week Jan. 2015, To see about getting discount rates for seniors. You would think I was talking to a machine, repeating, over and over it is their intent to give everyone the best rate. all the while I’m being offered a DEAL, that is twice what I had been paying. At the same time, they are offering a promotion at 1/3 the cost I was offered. and telling me I’m getting such a deal, that’s really worth $188.00. come on give me a break. Do they think that age means loss of faculties? I understand that changing basic internet from 19 to 35 dollars.By changing the name is nothing more than bate and switch. which once was against the law

  2. me says

    None of these providers except centurylink provide discount internet unless you have a kid in school. Centurylink form allows for SNAP recipients and other low income. I called pretty much all of them. Unfortunately, centurylink is not available in my area.

  3. Marie beaver says

    Hi my grand kids need internet or school and want it for Facebook and all that stuff don’t really now how to get cheap internet please send something for me to sing up. Thanks

  4. Kathy says

    All I need is a cheap wireless internet plan I don’t have a PC or laptop I do have a tablet a friend gave me her old one and an smart phone that my father pays for I lost my job and had to move back in with my mom and dad at the age of 34 I can’t find work because of not having internet can any one help I only have 1 gig of data on my phone pur mouth and that’s not enough to fill out job apps :(

  5. Liz says

    There is also a program called Freedompop. Not sure if it’s in a specific area only. It provides wireless internet. 500mb free monthly. If you don’t use all of it, it will roll over. The device, shipping, fees, taxes – altogether first month was around 33 dollars to have the device shipped to me in 3 days. No charges ever after that – the monthly free is always there – easy to apply just go to


  6. terri herring says

    I am currently on disability. I have had Century Link and was going to cancel because I cannot afford my medicine or pay my rent & utilities anymore. Please send me the application asap. thank you.

  7. Live and Learn says

    LEARN NOT TO TYPE IN CAPS!. I would rather not have idiots online that type in all caps just to try to get attention.

  8. Ava says

    My daughter is low income and has a 4 yr old child. Works full time minimum wage and can’t afford Internet or TV service. Is there any low cost or free internet service that would be able to allow streaming capability so that she can watch tv on her computer? She lives in Benicia, CA 94510.

  9. spice says

    I’m disabled, and have no children on free lunch programs. But I am on snap, and would like to be able to get a computer, and internet for low income. How can I do this when all the programs say I have to have a child. Please e-mail me with information because it should be some programs for people who have mobility issues and need computers at home that don’t have children. Thank you

  10. GUS says


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