The good news? The number of cable, telephone and internet providers now offering cheap internet service and participating in various Lifeline-like programs to help bring high-speed broadband to lower-income Americans is growing every week. The bad news? So many similar, but unrelated programs, are constantly popping up that it’s almost impossible to figure out who you should call to get one of these outstanding reduced-cost services.
Luckily, the National Telecommunications and Information Association (NTIA) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) have come to the rescue. They’ve joined forces to create a very helpful new website called NationalBroadbandMap.gov. All 50 states, five territories and the District of Columbia have also joined in the effort.
What is the National Broadband Map
The National Broadband Map is a simple, searchable, interactive tool that lets you explore broadband availability across the United States and, more importantly, right in your own neighborhood.
The National Broadband Map gives you a visual depiction of broadband data in any geographic region you wish to explore. You can even look at different interactive maps that offer different types of information, including broadband availability sorted by service provider, speed, and technology.
Like we said, the site is simple to use. But just in case you’re a bit of a technical novice, the NBM site also offers simple tips on how to get started. There’s also a Broadband Classroom that explains terminology in layman’s terms (for example, “What is DSL?” and “How fast is 3 Mbps?”).
But here’s the question so many people ask: “How can I use the National Broadband Map to find cheap internet service?”
It’s a simple, two-stage process: First you plug your address into the search form on the National Broadband Map homepage. Click the Search button and it will give you a complete list of broadband providers in your area. Second, the information you find in your search and cross reference it against the list of service providers we offer here on our low-income internet programs page.
Combine our listings with the providers shown on the National Broadband Map and you’ll quickly know if a cheap broadband program is available in your neighborhood.
If your neighborhood doesn’t yet have a cheap internet program, the wait shouldn’t be too long. At the rate this program is expanding, the National Broadband Map will be filled up in no time at all.
Go to: BroadbandMap.gov