Low Income Internet Service Providers

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

There are two primary “competing” low-income internet service programs designed for financially-struggling Americans – Comcast’s Internet Essentials and CenturyLink’s Internet Basics. In addition, Connect2Compete may help in finding low-income internet service, but is best for finding training. We’ve also added an interesting national pilot program we’re calling Lifeline Internet and one in California called School2Home. 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.

“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 cheap internet plans in your area.

The prices are the same for all three services, but there some differences in what each program offers consumers and 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 also getting into 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]

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]

Connect2Compete

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

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, at the moment it is primarily Internet Basics and Internet Essentials that serve most states. Connect2Competeis set to roll out in force in Fall 2012, and Lifeline Internet is only in a pilot program now. And then there are Knology and School2Home, which only serve one state each at this time. We’ll keep this table updated as things change.

Legend:

IE: Internet Essentials
IB: Internet Basics
C2C: Connect2Compete (almost available)
LI: Lifeline Intenet (in pilot program only)
S2H: School2home
Kno: Knology
Int: Interconnection

StateIEIBC2CLIS2HKnoInt
Alabama
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delaware
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Virginia
Washington
Washington DC
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming
Tribal

 

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

 

Comments

    • sharon nowicki says

      I can not find anyone or anyone that knows about low income inernet ,for disabled person. please help.

        • Luana McDonald says

          Im handicapped(on SSI) just 3 yrs ago I started using computer,after my adopted son left., He knew wanted me to know how or had time to teach me(learned I should have known what he was doing lol). It is the way I keep in touch with family,Im here all alone. Other then my IHSS worker that is. Mainly in my apt. How do I get this? 54.00 is out of my cox bill. THat bill takes over 1/4 of my income but until lately it is peace of mine or going hungry. I love cox ppl. I cant sleep most of the time,love sports so PLEASE help me get this program. I cant seem to be able to get the application part. Thank you so much
          PS
          sorry typos come with stiff joints and missing a finger.Blessings to you!!

        • Michael says

          Interesting, that each link merely runs a person around in circles — with no real information on an application process or the next step.

  1. patti smith says

    Called Charter the women on the line did’nt know what i was talking about. She said i had to be in some school to sign up! Just gave up because i knew i would’nt get anywhere with her. Should I try to get corp. number & call them?

    Thank you!
    Patti Smith

    • Cheap Internet Administrator says

      I don’t believe Charter is doing it yet. Connect to Compete’s cable companies will begin any time before September of this year; Internet Essentials is Comcast; Internet Basics is CenturyLink.

  2. margarita wright says

    how can i get the cheap internet am trying to work from home but cant get verizon comcast right now. so how does it work

    • Cheap Internet Administrator says

      Yes, you should be able to get Internet Basics from CenturyLink in your state and zip. Click the link in the last sentence and find their contact info at the bottom of that page.

      I’ve erased your address in your comment for your privacy.

  3. Bill Thompson says

    I receive SSD of about 1200 a month I am in IL 61917. Is there a program that I could apply to. I don’t have any children

  4. Bill Thompson says

    One more question, even if I am in an area that does not have service available Can I still qualify for the low cost computer?

  5. James H Jackson says

    I just recently signed up with Time Warner and am already finding it stressfull to think of the mo, payments. I’m having to discontinue my service…My income is $1057.00 per month and would like guidence on internet, phone, and the computor for $150.00 (mine keeps blacking out along with other problems).
    Can you help someone like me?
    Blessings’, Jim J.

    • Cheap Internet Administrator says

      Sounds like you should call CenturyLink about Internet Basics. (follow links above). And come around September, many companies across the nation will be working with Connect to Compete (also above). so if CenturyLink is not in your area, hang tight.

  6. Jo says

    This is a wonderful program for those who qualify. I unfortunately do not, because I live in the middle of no-where. I need providers such as HugesNet, and the bill is outrageous. I am on food-stamps and do need help, because I apply for jobs, going for my PHD at Walden University online and still jobless. I wish everyone blessings; as I hope you qualify.

    • Luana McDonald says

      God bless you. I pray I can get it here. It seems strange anyone helps these days. But may you have every blessing! Prayers are the other thing seeming short these days. I was just reading comments and yours spoke to me. :)

  7. barb says

    @ jo i do hope in time it will for you as well. I too am a undergrad(college student) and still jobless many jobs woldn’t hire as they believe i wouldn’t stay despite what i expressed. However it’s sad reading above what an obivious poster whom hate the idea these programs exist for the unfortunate; clearly have a lonely life and like those that like spreading hate feel hopefully someone will jump aboard and enjoy it with them. I know it must be really bad to have such a suck of a life despite what you have!

  8. Thomas says

    Where I live in Western Kentucky I can only use ‘mediacom’. Do they offer any type of program like this? Thank You.

  9. Jackie says

    I was very disappointed to find out that I was not able to receive this program due to the fact that it is not available in my area. I was told to contact my local cable company and see what they have to offer. I’m sure it will not be anything that I will be able to afford.

  10. mary isaacs says

    I got the internet thru my local provider, still waiting on paper work though, should be a few days the PC I am not sure of, I think I get it from them also so look for your local provider on the page and call a few of them. I still haven’t found where I get the pc from who ever gets one.. let everyone else know.

  11. carol robeck says

    I was looking for cheap internrt sevice this dialup is so slow it’s something else. Can you let me no if we can get faster internet sevices north of white cloud mich We don’t have much money but for differnt bill’s just my husand working Thank You Carol

  12. linda miller says

    I have contacted all that are in my are in kansas, knology which is actually free doesn’t service my zip code. Comcast the same, and time warner doesn’t know what i’m talking about.

  13. linda miller says

    The program Internet Essentials is $9.95 a month true, but it is to increase your internet speed you already have. So what this site needs to remove Internet Essentials it is not discounted internet, but an added expense.to your already existing internet. This means you would be paying 50-60 for your internet. None of the internet service offer a discount. Knology which is only in a tiny area in western Kansas does offer free internet.

  14. annette Miller says

    How do i get signed up I’m on disability and my monthly income is 697.00 i there a phone number i can call thanks

  15. shelia watts says

    i’m looking for cheap high speed internet in my area.fayette,al so fori cant find any ons that can help me.please help.

  16. mary arneson says

    looking to see i its available in my area, i live in rural mn 56309 but out in the country not in town. I have currently have 0 income [work related injury in process of applying for ssd] receive food support awaiting to be evicted actually becaus3 the house i rent does not meet housing code so therefor does not qualify for section 8.

  17. Susan says

    Hello:

    I am in Southeast Pennsylvania, I receive $589.00 in Social Security and simply cannot pay the $118.00 a month that Comcast wants for internet and phone service. Is there any way that I can get internet service in my area at a cost that I can afford?

  18. abullock says

    I am a college student in north dallas. Do I qualify for anything in my area. I am on a fixed income and I need internet access that doesn’t fail me.

  19. Chris says

    I’m l
    almost 65 years old. I’m retired. My Income qualifies me for the cheap internet program. I’m paying for internet/WiFi from my present Cable TV Provider. It’s too high in price for my budget, but I pay for it anyway-it’s a big part of my entertainment. Am I to understand that since I currently have Broadband that I pay for-that disqualifies me? I would have to discontinue my Broadband for 90 days before I would be eligible, and go without Broadband for 90 days?

  20. Ana says

    I currently live in Florida, area code 33712. I get SSI every month. Is there a program that fits my location and everything else? Thanks!

  21. Gail House says

    I would like a app. for and about low income internit,free phone service.I’m a single mother of 2 kids

  22. CyberdLA says

    It’s a great program but, you need to contact Comcast/Centurylink in your area and be enrolled in a Gov. program… SNAPS, SSI, Etc… Also, you may only get cell usage,,, Internet if provided for your area, is 10.00 a month..

  23. Debbie says

    I am on General Assistance and need low income internet to apply for jobs. I live in San Jose CA, I don’t have any children in my household to qualify for the Comcast program. is there a program in my area. If Comcast does have a program do you have to have their TV services also?

    Another question about the computer do you have to purchase at computer at the time you sign up or can you buy later?

  24. Ruth Williams says

    I qualify and live in the 31406 zip code and wondering whom do I contact in the savannah georgia area to get the cheap internet?

  25. Christina says

    I am baffled. I do not understand. The whole reason people need cheap internet is because they are in a recession and loosing their jobs like myself and hanging on by a thread that is breaking. How are we supposed to look for work when we have no internet? Then because we ONCE HAD A JOB and ONCE HAD Time Warner CABLE and High Speed and can NO LONGER afford it due to the RECESSION we cannot get Cheap internet. That is like saying if you used to shop at The Mall and lost your job Now You are not allowed to shop at Good Will???? I am baffled. Who will this help? People who have never had internet in their home before because if you have had internet it will be cut off and their will be a record of it and they will tell you NO! The safe link and other cell phones that are there to help do not look to see if you once owned an I Phone????? The Children it is supposed to help are going to be penalized because their parents ONCE had a job and now do not because of something that is out of their control WOW is all I can say. Good idea but bad regulations. Please tweak it for all us job seekers who can’t even afford gas to go to the library or Employment Security Center to put in Job Aps. Thanks for your efforts.

    • carly says

      Christina maybe you should call your local department of health and human services and see if you qualify for Medicaid or if there is some place that will provide you affordable medical assistance… Perhaps instead of internet you might want to consider diazepam? or some type of benzo? you seem a bit wound up… if you have an issue with the policy and procedure, maybe it would be more constructive if you contacted someone or the company that has control over these matters instead of flipping out on a internet site that just provides ideas and resources to live more affordably. and Shawn I agree she does need to stop complaining. However, I don’t see where in her post it mentions she’s married, but I didn’t spend a lot of time re-reading a post that gave me a headache on the first read through. Just cause she mentions children doesn’t mean she has any and I doubt her baby daddy stuck around if she does… and Shawn “baffle on his d*ck” ? really? that doesn’t even make sense… my goodness people this website is just a place to assist you to live life without such a huge financial overhead, its not a soap box. hey Christine I think maybe when you do get to utilize the internet you might want to spend less time whining and throwing a tantrum and maybe actually look for a job or a medical professional.

  26. Ron says

    I am asking for my neighbor; she has a qualified phone, can she also have this qualified internet? Or is it either a phone or an internet situation? Thanks RON

  27. Joy Lynn Rosser says

    I live in Louisiana and don’t see it on your chart. I have the free cell service. I am disabled and on SSDI, Medicaid, Madicare and am applying for what we used to call food stamps (now SNAP). I live in a rural town with no public transportation and I have no car. I am trying to have a business online because it seems to be the only way. Are there any programs that will help me in my area – zip 71006?

    • jess says

      I am a working poor person. I make less than 600 every 2 weeks and by the time I pay rent phone elcectric gas to get to work and food.. I’m broke. I’m even thinking about gicing my dog away because. Rent and gas went up. I live in fla and choose between air condioning or eating..same in winter..heat or eat..where’s my cheap internet?? Oh that’s right..because I work and pay all my money to bills I’m not concidered.low income.. they should have a program for us working people who aren’t. Concidered low income….

  28. Aly says

    Help! my friend is about to lose her internet because the house her gaurdian was renting is now gone and so they arent getting any money from it! my friend is homeschooled so the “free lunch” program thing wont apply with her so i dont know what to do! can anybody tell me any way to help her get cheap internet please!

  29. Kimberly Hill says

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  30. jesse tindall says

    I am unemployed for 2 months now and am interested in free/low cost internet in my area (30248) who should I contact?

  31. Jade says

    I called several times for Internet Essentials. I am in Fredericksburg, VA. I was told to wait for a package in the mail. I called and waited and called again and waited some more (over 5 months). I never ever received the Internet Essentials through Comcast information. I believe it is some sort of hoax. I have to struggle to pay for regular internet service because I have three school aged children, that must use the internet for their homework.

    Is there anyone is VA that really has Internet Essentials or that knows of anyone who does?
    Thanks

    • Cheap Internet Administrator says

      I’m sorry they did not get the package out to you. But to be certain, it is not a hoax. Sound simply like bad customer service.

    • Joe says

      I’m sure the tax payers will… Do you need a computer desk too? How about a nice comfy chair? Probably living in an apartment… That won’t do. How about a nice Rancher with a dedicated office to put all your new stuff. Don’t forget the free cell phone!

      • Angela says

        Joe,

        Exactly what I was thinking, I found this site because I was searching for a way to save on internet service without having to cancel. I will never qualify for these rates but I struggle with high internet payments and my choice may be to cancel. So once again the poor are given free phones and cheap internet access at the expense of my tax dollars while I can not afford the luxuries of the poor. When will the middle class get their bail outs. The difference is I will not survive off the back of other people’s hard work, I will either do without, go to the library for free internet or work another job. People where is your dignity?

        • jmf says

          It’s not a matter of “dignity” or nobly doing without things–it’s a matter of being able to participate in society on a basic level and to have access to essential technology. Children need to be able to do homework and research, or else they will fail school. People need to be able to apply for jobs online. The public library, with the time limits, slow speeds, and often long waiting times, really doesn’t cut it. Think about it–do you think it should be easier, or harder for people to find work? Because it’s going to be much harder if people are stuck using a public library computer.

          I’m on social security, and I’m also looking for a way to save on internet service without having to cancel. I’m finding it extremely difficult to afford any internet access. I’m not able to get to a library. I do a lot of shopping online from home because I have difficulty getting out. I stay in touch with family and friends, and get information to take to my doctor. None of these free/cheap low-income internet programs are available in my area, at least for someone like me with no school-age children, but I don’t begrudge those who are able to get them. I agree that internet should be affordable for you as well, but poor people like me really don’t have the luxuries you think we do.

  32. john bellue says

    i live in rock hill s.c. 29732. is either internet service offered in my area?If so please inform of who and how to proceed with this.please contact my email.thank you. John B ellue

  33. Claire says

    Interesting that none of these serve rural Oregon residents who have no access to any of the cable companies. Too bad the phone companies aren’t part of this as we get our broadband thru our phone line. We’ve used many options from radio antenna to satelite dish to wireless modem. All were really expensive and really slow. Phone service is the best we’ve gotten and we only live 35 miles from Portland and 15 miles from Salem. Nor the hinterlands.

  34. Shari says

    I live in 70043 zip code? Also receive lifeline assistance and SNAP. I have very low income. Do I qualify for free Internet?

  35. maria says

    Maria 11/13/2012 11:44 am

    I live in 92395 zip code and receive assistance due to being in low income. Is it possible to qualify for free internet?

    Reply

  36. wendy stevenson says

    i am currentkly assited by the HUD housing Section 8 in los angels, and my 2 kids are college bound. I am unemployed and seeking employment. we very much need to have acces to the internet, but i cant afford the 63.99 for the service, and also my kidsare in dire need of a computer for their schoolo work, wouild i quilif, being i recieve food stmps, section 8 housing assistance and medi-cal? please email to responde.
    thank you kindly for your time ,
    wendy stevenson

  37. michelle says

    I livein West Columbia, SC ans am low income. Who would I contact in my area for cheap internet?
    Thank you for your help

  38. carol stephen says

    I live in Kansas, receive SSI and applied for Knology but was denied. They told me the service was not available in my area. I live in the city so I found this odd, but what can you do?

  39. KatherineRobinson says

    I need a car I don”t have a job now. my mom is sick with a heart and she can walk
    she is in a wheelchair. we do need a car to get to the DR. so I need your help. thank you

  40. Becky Fitz says

    I am looking for some new internet that is not to expensive. We have only one income and I am waiting on seeing if I get disability. We live in the country and are only able to get dial up with our phone company(Sage). It is really slow and would like to get something faster and better. I see that you have some for 9-10 dollars a month does it work like the good ones? Hopefully you can give me some information that I and my husband can look at and see if that is what we can afford and also use. Thank you for your time. Will be waiting for you reply.

  41. Renda Luvaas says

    I have applied for centrylinks program. I was accepted however it isn’t provided in my area. Centrylink’s reg. internet service is. This has happened to others here in WA. So, how does that work? I asked Centrylink and simply was told (again) that the “internet Basics” wasn’t in my area yet.

  42. Jacqueline Koury says

    Are there any programs in R. I. that offer tv cable and/or internet at a low cost due to low income???
    Thanks,
    Jackie

  43. a woelke says

    I live in La. 70663 zip. I don’t see La. on the list. I have a special needs child who would benefit from the internet and a computer. The hand me down xp finally died it’s last death…there’s no more fixes for it. How do I go about getting the computer first, I read somewhere that cost of that’s $150.00. Does that all have to be paid at once or could it be deducted from SSI in increments? Then can I get low cost or FREE internet for him/US in LOUISIANA? We are very low on the educational ratings. Now I know WHY!!!!! D@*%+** POLITICS. ANY info I can get will be appreciated. Thank you for letting me rant. That’s about all this will amount to. Kids with disabilities should get it all free!!!!

  44. Becky Fitz says

    I would love for you to send me some information about this internet. We have dial up and would love to see if we can get this internet at our address. Our address is [redacted] Rd. Eau Claire, Mi. Please respond to this email if at all possible. We are not happy with our internet provider. Thank you,
    Becky

  45. Daniel Serrato says

    i am very interested in a low inexpensive internet service. can some one call me please
    ***2096142

  46. Zena Zerfu says

    I am interested getting internet low cheap internet please helps for my son for his school education. i need cheap internet please now .
    thank you.

  47. Rich says

    What about West Virginia It says Internet Essentials but when you click it West Virginia is not on there list. My zip code is 24954. I am a dissabled vet tyring to work with a VR program to go back to work with a at home job and desperatly need Internet. I have 2 kids, get snap, but have no income right now fighting for SSD. There is not much here is there a chance any satelite Co. are going to do something?

  48. ann broussard says

    hi i just happened on this website by accident. my husband & i are both retired. i from nursing & i have a bad back from a fall i took back in 1999. my husband had a stroke last aug. ( i always say thats what he got for his 60 th b-day.so i dont know if we qualify.i would sure help out d/t my husband’s 2 bad habits ( ciggerettes & beer). so im left holding the bag with him financially

  49. diane l says

    I get a retirment amt of $743/mo-do I qualify? how do i apply here in Tampa Fl area? Im confused on this program.Dont know where to begin to look for this.

  50. franklin jiang says

    Im interested in getting a low cost internet.It seems nothing available in the place i live. Please email me info.

  51. michelle trosclair says

    I am a single mother of 5 boys I need a phone cable internet all in a cheap working service I am disabled from a terrible car accident and just can’t afford alot of different things please help

  52. says

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  53. MUAMMAR says

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  54. joy says

    I think that is web site I bounce off I have very low income get food stamps but have no electricity is there any cheap internet for me I live in north west wis?

  55. Adrianna says

    I need help!!!! PLZ … everything it lists that work for California says i dont have coverage in my area.. i thought i was signing up for the basic or the other ones listed but i ended up with c2c freedompop and its too slow for my daughters homeschool lessons online… please help me figure out where i can get faster wifi in san bernardino county.. yucca valley ca 92284

  56. Terry says

    The above states: “Here’s a handy table that will help you to narrow down what internet programs are available in each state.”

    Please note that there is no table visible.

    Thanks.

  57. Terry says

    I am trying to help a family from church. The husband is on MediCal (which I believe is the California equivalent of the federal MediCaid). They need unlimited service because they have two kids in school who use the Internet quite a bit for their projects and papers, playing games with friends and downloading music and watching videos, which is the norm for kids today.

    The mom told me that they don’t qualify for the national school lunch program, although they are low-income by anyone’s standards, especially in Silicon Valley. Because the husband is on MediCal, they should be able to qualify for Century Link’s Internet Basics program; however, Century Link does not appear to be available in California.

    Any other ideas that is not freedompop? The freedompop service realistically is only workable for people who rarely go online or are very light users. If there is more than one person accessing the Internet or if there is one person who is online several hours every day, the GB usage would escalate exponentially and they could end up with a shocker bill of upwards of $60 per month (with an estimate web page usage of 3 MB per page).

    Thanks.

    • Don says

      Terry I wish I would have read these comments before I tried Freedompop it would have save me a lot of headaches. I paid $107.00 and some change and now I am waiting to get my money back.

  58. Don says

    I tried one of your cheap internet services you recommend. It was Freedompop you guys did not check into this place very good. I had it one day and used over half of my service. The next day I canceled it and had to have my old internet service restored. So just to let everyone out there know that this all sounds good until you get some one else or one of these service you get what you pay for. And sometimes cheap is always not cheaper. Thanks from Don for reading.

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