Connect2Compete Internet Program
for Low Income Americans

Connect2compete (often written incorrectly as Connect to Compete) is one of those rare organizations formed by a combination of private companies and non-profit organizations.

Its goal is easier said than done: To bring high speed internet, low-priced computers and digital literacy to low income communities across the United States in order to improve lives in those communities. They do this by connecting either a) low-income families who have a child in school, or b) anyone living in any of the over 14,000 zip codes where the annual median income is under $35,000, with internet companies willing to give them a special deal. (Also under the Connect2Compete umbrella, Cox Cable has expanded it’s eligibility to include participants of SNAP and TANF.)

The program has made a lot of news, getting much attention and many of America’s best known cable companies and assortment of other internet companies have partnered up with the program.

Connect2Compete helps you find low cost monthly broadband internet access. Plus a low cost computer for your home. And very low-cost computer training classes. That’s a combination that lower income, struggling Americans can really use these days.

An internet connection will make it easier for you to apply for better jobs and also make it easier for your kids to excel in school. And that, in a nutshell, is the whole idea behind Connect2Compete.

Let’s take a look at what Connect2Compete has to offer:

Cheap internet access

Connect2Compete is great news for low-income families and individuals who desperately need less expensive, more cheap internet. Not slow dial-up, but high-speed internet access at unbeatable prices. Check out all you get:

  • Internet service mostly under $10, with a couple outliers sightly higher; and there’s also a free plan from partner FreedomPop
  • Program lasts for two years (and you can apply any time in the next three years)
  • Minimum of 1 Mbps minimum speed (If you’re not fluent in tech jargon, 1 Mbps is fast even that pages pop up on your screen almost immediately and you’ll be able to watch videos.)

Cheap PCs, too

If you think cheap internet service is a great deal, wait until you see what else this program offers. One of the following will be available to you:

Refurbished Redemtech computers from just $150

The price is so low you may be shocked, but we guarantee you’ll be even more shocked to learn that these computers also come loaded with the kind of software you and your kids will need most. Specifically, here’s what you get:

  • Microsoft Windows 7
  • Microsoft Office
  • 90-day tech support
  • Pre-loaded educational and career content
  • Free shipping

$250 PCs from Microsoft

Microsoft, one of the biggest names in the high tech world, is also a partner in Connect2Compete. It’s offering personal computers for just $250. Here’s what it includes:

  • Microsoft Windows 7
  • Microsoft Office

One more benefit: Cheap computer classes

The simple fact is, a personal computer and internet access won’t help you very much if you don’t know how to use a computer. It’s like having someone give you a car, but no driving lessons.

So the Best Buy Geek Squad’s contribution is to offer basic digital literacy training sessions in 20 major cities around the country. But they don’t stop there. The Geek Squad will work with community non-profits to train them how to train additional people.

Finally, industry leader Microsoft has agreed to build an online digital literacy training center for people who live in smaller cities that aren’t large enough for in-person digital literacy classes. And that’s just the beginning. Microsoft will also offer valuable Microsoft Certification training sessions in 15 states. These certifications, normally quite expensive, can help you land a job or improve your career.

What else? Plenty.

Qualified participants will also get free access to Discovery Education’s “premier educational content.”

And will offer online prep and certification classes for just $1 per course. And, of course, additional jobs and education content will be offered on an ongoing basis. In other words, the program starts with more than you could have hoped for and grows rapidly from there.

Connect2Compete Eligibility: Do you qualify?

The bad news on a national level is that millions of Americans, maybe even tens of millions of Americans are eligible for this program because of our devasted and barely recovering economy.

But the good news – on a personal level – is that you may well qualify for Connect2Compete and live in an area that one of their partners servces.

There are two ways you can qualify for this inexpensive internet access.

  1. your household must (a) have at least one student enrolled in the Free School Lunch Program (Cox now allows SNAP and TANF participants); (b) not be a current subscriber to the broadband service (or have subscribed in the last 90 days) you are enrolling with; and (c) not have an overdue bill or unreturned equipment to the participating service provider.
  2. Reside in any of over 14,000 zip codes that have a median household income level of $35,000 or less. No matter your income or other eligibility.

Which eligibility rule is applied depends upon which internet service plan you are trying to get. But in a nutshell, the three wireless internet companies — FreedomPop, Mobile Beacon and Mobile Citizen — are all based upon the zip code, and in general, the rest are based upon the School Lunch program criteria.

The companies that participate to provide broadband access are Bright House, Cablevision, Comcast (Internet Essentials), Cox Communications, Mediacom, Midcontinent, Mobile Citizen, Mobile Beacon, and VTX 1 and Wilco.

Connect2Compete Internet Service Providers
Provider Detail Eligibility
  • 1GB Data: FREE (Clearwire network)
  • Equipment Fee: $49 + shipping
  • No Set Up Fee
  • Overage at $0.01 per MB.
  • Live in a pre-qualified FreedomPop zip code
FreedomPop Option2
  • 300MB Data: Free / 2GB Data: $19.95/month (Sprint network)
  • Equipment Fee: $29.95 + shipping
  • No Set Up Fee
  • Overage at $0.01 per MB.
  • Live in a pre-qualified FreedomPop zip code
Mobile Beacon
  • Unlimited Data: $10/month
  • Equipment Fee: $73 + shipping
  • Live in a pre-qualified MobileBeacon zip code
Mobile Citizen
  • Unlimited Data: $10/month
  • Equipment Fee: $73 + shipping
  • Live in a pre-qualified Mobile Citizen zip code
Comcast (Internet Essentials)
(more info)
  • Unlimited Data: $9.95/month
  • No Set Up Fee
  • No Equipment Fee
  • No Price Increases
  • Live in Comcast Internet coverage area
  • Child eligible to receive free or reduced school lunch through the National School Lunch Program
  • No Comcast Internet subscription in past 90 days
  • No overdue payments to Comcast
  • No unreturned Comcast equipment
  • Additional Restrictions May Apply
(more info)
  • Unlimited Data: $14.95/month
  • No Set Up Fee
  • No Equipment Fee
  • No Price Increases
  • Live in VTX Internet coverage area
  • Child eligible to receive free or reduced school lunch through the National School Lunch Program
  • No VTX Internet subscription in past 90 days
  • No overdue payments to VTX
  • No unreturned VTX equipment
(more info)
  • 100GB Data: $9.95/month
  • No Set Up Fee
  • No Equipment Fee
  • Live in Cox Internet coverage area
  • Child eligible to receive free school lunch through the National School Lunch Program
  • No Cox Internet subscription in past 90 days
  • No overdue payments to Cox
  • No unreturned Cox equipment
  • Additional Restrictions May Apply
  • Unlimited Data: $14.95/month
  • Set Up Fee: $14.95 One Time
  • No Equipment Fee
  • Only for Philadelphia Residents
Bright House Internet
(more info)
  • Unlimited Data: $9.95/month
  • No Set Up Fee
  • No Equipment Fee
  • Live in Bright House Networks Internet coverage area
  • Child eligible to receive free school lunch and is attending a Connect2Compete Partner School
  • No Bright House Networks subscription in past 90 days
  • No overdue payments to Bright House Networks
  • No unreturned Bright House Networks equipment
  • Additional Restrictions May Apply
(more info)
  • 150GB Data: $9.95/month
  • No Set Up Fee
  • No Equipment Fee
  • Live in Mediacom coverage area
  • Child eligible to receive free school lunch and is attending a Connect2Compete Partner School
  • No Mediacom subscription in past 90 days
  • No overdue payments to Mediacom
  • No unreturned Mediacom equipment
  • Additional Restrictions May Apply
(more info)
  • 150GB Data: $9.95/month
  • No Set Up Fee
  • No Equipment Fee
  • Live in Suddenlink coverage area
  • Child eligible to receive free school lunch and is attending a Connect2Compete Partner School
  • No Suddenlink subscription in past 90 days
  • No overdue payments to Suddenlink
  • No unreturned Suddenlink equipment
  • Additional Restrictions May Apply

If you are interested in Comcast’s Internet Essentials plan offered through Connect2Compete, you can also go directly to their offer page. There is no difference in price by doing so.

The other programs listed above require you to begin at the the site, which hosts the Connect2Compete program. While you can go directly to FreedomPop, you won’t find the same deal and you’ll pay considerably more.

If Connect2Compete doesn’t work for you, the good news is that if you are in an area that offers CenturyLink DSL service, you can participate in their similar plan called Internet Basics. In fact, this plan offer internet service to a broader spectrum of low income Americans: not just those with a child on the National Free School Lunch Program or one in a certain zip code, but to those on any one of a number of government assistance programs such as Medicaid, Food Stamps, SSI and others.

How to Apply to Connect2Compete

Contact Information

Connect2Compete at
Website: Everyone On
Phone: 800-446-2031

Schools with participating C2C internet providers in their area should be handing out flyers to the kids. The flyer will have a “Connect2Compete Offer Code” on it (or perhaps the school gave out the code in another way), which you will use when applying for the program at the program’s site, On that site, you can both apply and go back to check your application status.

Recent Articles we’ve published on Connect2Compete

netbook low income How you can get a PC (and a lot more) for just $149 if you are low-income - If you’re a low-income American, you can now get a PC that’s completely loaded with all the top software plus computer training for just $149.
get internet without c2c How to get cheap internet even if you don’t qualify for Connect2Compete - Connect2Compete has worked out a deal with a company called Freedom Pop to offer a internet access to those people who can’t find affordable internet access anywhere else.
more people Connect2Compete’s make more people eligible for cheap internet (despite confusing new rules) - The good news is that Connect2Compete has introduced new rules that make more people eligible for cheap internet, cheap computers, and digital literacy training. The bad news is that the 64 words that outline those new rules are almost incomprehensible.
c2c public service announcement New Connect2Compete public service announcement: We review it. - We’ve eagerly awaited the day that Connect2Compete and the AdCouncil break their long-promised campaign to promote nationwide cheap internet for America’s needy.
digital literacy Connect2Compete to launch nationwide (almost) digital literacy training program - If you haven’t yet heard of Connect2Compete, you’ll be hearing plenty about it in the coming months.
usa map internet Here comes Connect2Compete: Cheap internet program ready to roll out nationally - After successfully completing a series of test programs around the country, Connect2Compete will launch nationally on March 21 in order to bring inexpensive digital opportunities to all low-income Americans.
feds promote broadband Feds join coalition to promote cheap government internet program - Federal Communications Chairman Julius Genachowski and Housing & Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan have announced that HUD is adding its support to Connect2Compete
Ending the digital divide ends poverty: Bringing cheap internet to America’s low income Hispanic kids - The FCC believes helping Latinos adopting broadband at much higher levels which will lead directly to better educations, better healthcare, and lower poverty rates.
New ad campaign to promote government’s cheap internet program, Connect to Compete - Connect to Compete's ad campaign beginning in January, 2013 will alert tens of millions of needy Americans that they can receive cheap internet and a cheap computer.
FCC sponsors $25 million contest to help low income Americans get cheap internet - The FCC will use $25 million it saved eliminating fraud and waste from the free government cell phone program and use to pick pilot programs that can best give cheap internet to low income Americans.


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  1. ImYourUncle says

    I can see how these programs can help rural communities, but If your in a major city these programs aren’t very helpful. I’m currently paying Comcast $30 mth for 30mbps DL and 5mbps UL. Google Fiber is coming to my area soon and the internet will be free for everyone.

  2. shonest says

    To American Girl and Pittypartyers shameful heartless remarks. Most people who are disabled or live in poverty didn’t ask for it nor do they want to depend on services. I am a Registered Nurse with a Bachelors degree. I worked several years in my profession expecting to work many more. Unforeseen health issues occurred and now I am disabled and live on a fixed income. I pay regular price for internet service and it’s becoming a hardship at best. I have a son about to go to college who uses the internet frequently looking for grants and scholarships. I’m thankful knowing there are services available for those like myself who fell on hard times, live in poverty, born with disabilities or became disabled. Not sure if I will use the services, but THANK YOU FOR CARING AND MAKING IT POSSIBLE FOR THE LEAST OF US.

  3. jessica says

    I don’t have a child, but I am on disability, lifeline pg&e, free cell phone, and food stamps in San Francisco, Ca. I can’t find anything here that I could qualify for in my area. Do I have to wait for Lifeline to come through?

  4. Danny H. says

    Try living out in the country and not having access to high speed internet.! I have been disabled since 2005. It’s not easy getting to the library,and I’m in pain a lot of time. I have worked and paid into social security since I was 15 years old!! If my government can help me ? I say PLEASE and THANK YOU !! Getting 3 different disability’s is not a gift !
    High speed internet is not a luxury these days It is a necessity! DON’T CRITICIZE OTHER PEOPLE UNTIL YOU HAVE WALKED A MILE IN THERE SHOES!!

  5. Kathleen Lawrence says

    If these programs are subsidized by Gov’t funds why isn’t fully handicapped accessible? Not providing a website to get more information and/or sign up, violates accessibility rules by requiring one to call in! I have difficulty speaking and being understood, but do not need TTY/TTD equipment since email is available for communication with most entities. But those who do need TTY/TTD equipment are also shut out of this program!
    Thank You,

  6. Mary Kollydas says

    if somebody could please help me out because I’m not sure which one I would qualify for but I do receive SNAP food stamp also I’m in a low-income area and all the different onesI tried to sign up for as soon as I put in my zip code it tells me that the area doesn’t qualify for my zip code my zip code which is 33760 does not have it in this area.I would really like to know which one covers my zip code and my qualifications for low income and with snap

  7. Rachel says

    Hi! I live in a low income household where I live with my mom and sister. We are considering cancelling our AT&T plan because they are constantly increasing our bill. Now it is $178 for our DSL network.

    All of these programs sound great but the only problem is that all of them say you are only qualified if you have a child that is eligible for the free school lunch program. Obviously we are all adults and only my mom and I have jobs. My mom makes minimum wage with a full time job and I also make minimum wage that is part time. My sister is currently a college student that get financial aid assistance through grants. And lastly, we are currently enrolled in the SNAP program in our state Illinois and Medicaid. Out of all of these programs that you provided, which one do we really qualify for?

    Please respond! Thank you!

  8. ElevateYourMind says

    American Girl says

    June 3, 2013 at 1:28 am

    I’m sorry People. Free cell phones and internet are not necessities! They are fringe benefits for people who work and earn them.

    Your post requires factual corrections. It’s called the Digital Divide and it afflicts the poor and underprivileged. The world we live in thrives on technology many cannot afford.

    By your logic, the elderly, disabled, and unemployed, should not have access to resources and services only found via the internet. Many elderly and disabled people can’t access PC’s at the public library to stay in touch with relatives or to locate organizations to help them with their needs. Smartphones are being pushed excessively. They are expensive and can be confusing to older people. The unemployed are being asked to fax their resumes and you can’t do that at the library.

    Thirty years ago we didn’t have computers and cell phones and the world didn’t come to an end. Believe it or not, you won’t die if you can’t get on Facebook for a few days!

    The demographic that this information is targeting is unlikely to use FB. Maybe we should be posting and twittering our lives away or maybe we’re just too smart to give in and have our privacy sold for a price we’ll never see a penny of.

    I am so tired of picking up the slack for a bunch of deadbeats that have their hands out for everything the government is stupid enough to think they can afford to give away.

    There ARE free computers at the library and if you can’t make it there because you have soccer practice after school…quit soccer! EVERYONE has to make sacrifices.

    Yes, the elderly, disabled, unemployed, and minimum wage earners, are total deadbeats. Why it’s not as though they’ve ever contributed to society. Just because the fast food worker who served you lunch isn’t making enough to live on doesn’t make them a deadbeat.

    Not all public libraries have computers. There are waiting lists, time use limits, and they don’t open early and stay open late. Someday, when you lose your job, can’t find another, and your laptop breaks down, I hope you’ll take your own advice and just “make sacrifices.”
    If Grandma or Grandpa is so bad off that they can’t dial a ride or use the public transportation then they probably shouldn’t be living alone. The elderly managed to pay their bills before the internet was around. I’m not trying to be mean. My grandma is 96 and she lives alone. She has a car and if she doesn’t feel like driving she calls a relative or dial a ride. She doesn’t have internet or a cell phone because she can’t afford them and doesn’t think they are necessary.

    I wish we could all see you 30 years from now. Your perspective will change a lot after you pass your attitude on to your kids and they put you in a home when you don’t need to be there simply because they really don’t want the burden of taking care of you.

    So your grandmother can’t afford these things or doesn’t deem them necessary? Which is it and why can’t you provide her with what she can’t afford? Oh wait. Yes, you mentioned the elderly managed to pay their bills and never fell on hard times in our nation’s history. Nevermind.

    Nobody really NEEDS free internet or free cell phones…it’s not like dialysis or something. The government needs to be keeping a better eye on who is getting what.

    A lot of people disagree with you. As people have mentioned, even many college courses are offered online now and it’s not an option. Grade schools are requiring children have net access to do homework. Need to find a plumber? Phonebooks are a thing of the past. Here, there are certain areas where the city has free wifi for businesses and households. We believe it should be available and accessible to all.

    Look at the EBT card. I am sick of watching people buy their beer and cigarettes with my money. I think these people getting handouts should be cleaning the trash up at our parks or cleaning up on our highways or some other community service. Instead of laying on their couch smoking their cigarettes and complaining about not being able to get free internet service and cell phones.

    You cannot buy cigarettes or alcohol with food stamps. It’s never been allowed. Do you even know what president started the food stamp program and why? When you retire and Medicare is long gone you’ll be begging for a handout.

    Hopefully you’ll get some encouraging responses like, “Hey! I know you have terrible arthritis and zero healthcare coverage but you shouldn’t lay around on your couch all day. Go out and pick up some highway trash!”

    Life is what you MAKE it! Get out there and make something with your life instead of waiting for someone else to come along and help you out.

    It sure is, but no one has complete control over what happens in their lives. Please remember that as you go through life and experience tragedy, loss, pain, surprises, and disappointments. I’m sure with your peppy attitude you’ll just bounce right back! We reap what we sow, Dear.

  9. Wowpittypartyers says

    All you guys want a pitty party gift?? Stop your whining and get a hobby u don’t NEED Internet if u don’t got kids in school cell phones got it go on moderately don’t live on the dam thing!! Too bad your kids are grown and you don’t qualify evidently you make enough money to not qualify or were irresponsible with your bills in the past if u would have paid 1$ dollar a week you woulda still been in good standing but chose to do otherwise. Stop blaming Illegals for being able to qualify evidently its cuz their kids are born Americans or they are poor enough to get accepted!! Stop smoking and drinkin your wine there’s ways to cut corners saving money getting cheaper services or products get off YOUR HIGH HORSE & go back to work or go to the library or cofee shop, McDonald’s etc. just please stop the crying boohoo!!!who cares??nobody !!! Shoulda payed your bills eh!

    • Janet says

      Careful, read the fine print.. these are contracts for 2 years and hundreds of dollars in cancellation fees and start up fees..

  10. Sam Roberts says

    Please send me info on how to get cheap internet and a cheap computer. O draw social security and can’t afford high prices.

  11. Deborah Padgett says

    I am a single, disabled woman with no transportation. I do everything online and currently use Cricket prepaid internet. It is outrageous what they charge. I pay anywhere from $65.00-$125.00 a month for internet alone. I am a member of AARP and at the very least, THEY should provide low-income internet to their members, as much as they make off of us. It is also BS that ALL of these low-income internet programs are available only to those who have children. Is it our fault that we are elderly, disabled or low-income? Why don’t we have a program just for adults like us?

  12. linda lamberson says

    I can no longer afford internet service. and my pc is old and its broken . I became disabled many year ago but am no longer married. I have a limited income and need to find a job thru the internet. I now am with att but they arpe very expensive and keep going up even thou ive been with them 20 years.can you help

  13. esther says

    i am trying to sign up for free internet for low income familys where and how do i do it? HELP PLEASE

  14. static says

    I’m disabled, receive SSDI. I spend ~ $33 per month for 1.5M down 512K up on a wireless ISP I don’t have CATV & can’t OTA TV since the switch to digital. When I can afford to put up an antenna mast I should get CBS PBS perhaps FOX & ABC. All in All Broadband can make financial sense if you have room in your budget Weather, news on demand Plenty of entertainment YouTube has older full length movies. I received a Rocu unit for Christmas, but I find it a mixed bag for the value. Personally I’d put that money towards build a dedicated media computer for the TV Broadband is like that home Encyclopedia sets only well to families could afford back in the day. Of course data bit can’t fill our stomach ot keep us warm. Each family has to make there own decision & everyone else should try to refrain from judgement.