Colorado is the 29th most connected state and has 150 broadband providers. Nevertheless, there are 31,000 people in the state with no access to broadband. No cable. No DSL. No fixed wireless. No mobile internet. Nothing.
Of the 5.3 million Coloradans, 302,000 have access to only one wired provider. Of course, that means ISP (internet service provider) can old them hostage, raise rates, or alter the terms and conditions of their contract. Because those people have no competitive options). Of that number, 126,000 are forced to deal with low data caps on their home internet connection because their only choices are fixed wireless or mobile broadband suppliers.
There is a lot of room for improvement in the state’s poverty picture. The overall poverty rate is 13%. Its child poverty rate is 18%. Its senior poverty rate is 12%. And its extreme poverty rate is 5.6%. Those numbers are relatively good in comparison to other states, but still unacceptably high for those needy Colorado residents who are part of the statistics.
But fear not, because CheapInternet.com knows a number of ways you can get high-speed broadband internet access at prices far cheaper than you ever imagined possible.
Low-income Internet Options
Here is the internet’s most complete list of companies and organizations that offer low-income Americans low-cost, high-speed internet access. And when we say low-cost, we’re talking about plans whose prices range from free to $14.95 per month for broadband internet. Different companies offer different prices, different types of Internet (i.e., cable, DSL or mobile), and different ways to qualify, so check them all out to see which low-income program is right for you. Click on any of the programs below to see full details on what they offer.
- Spectrum Internet Assist
- Access from AT&T
- Comcast’s Internet Essentials
- Cox Low-Income Internet
- BrightHouse Networks
- Eagle Communications
- PC’s for People
- Coming soon: Lifeline Broadband
Other Low-cost Internet Options
What if you want to sign up for a cheap internet plan, but don’t qualify under the rules of the plans shown above? Or what if none of those plans are offered in your area? Luck may still be on your side, because there are other low-cost plans available for you if you know where to look. And at CheapInternet.com, we know where to look. Here’s a brief review of other low-cost options that may be available in your area.
- 4G Community
- FreedomPop Mobile Internet
- FreedomPop Home Internet
- NetZero DSL
- NetZero 4G Mobile Broadband
Lifeline Broadband Pilot Programs
The Lifeline Assistance program, which offers free government cell phones to low-income Americans, has helped millions of needy Americans. The program has been so successful that the Federal Communications Commission decided to investigate the possibility of creating a similar program called Lifeline Internet or Lifeline Broadband.
Fourteen cable companies and service organizations were selected by the FCC to test pilot programs in various regions around the country. The pilot programs looked into the impact of various pricing plans, discounts, and equipment.
We expect the FCC to announce the results of the pilot programs and perhaps even announce the introduction of an official Lifeline Broadband (or Lifeline Internet) program before the end of 2014. Although you can no longer sign up nor participate in these programs, you may be interested in seeing what the future of free internet may look like in your state.
Unfortunately, none of the Lifeline Broadband Pilot Programs are being conducted in Colorado.
Municipal Broadband Networks
Wikipedia defines a Municipal Broadband Network (often called Community Broadband Network) like this: “Municipal broadband deployments are broadband Internet access services provided either fully or partially by local governments. Common connection technologies include unlicensed wireless (Wi-Fi, wireless mesh networks), licensed wireless (such as WiMAX), and fiber-optic. Although many cities previously deployed Wi-Fi based solutions, municipal fiber-to-the-home networks are becoming more prominent because of increased demand for modern audio and video applications.”
Twenty states have laws of one sort or another that hinder municipalities efforts to form their own broadband networks to serve their residents. Colorado, unfortunately, is one of those states. According to ArsTechnica.com, Colorado “Municipalities must hold a referendum before providing cable, telecommunications, or broadband service, unless the community is unserved.” The obvious problem with that regulation is that established internet service providers can — and do — outspend local residents in any referendums that result from the law.
Our research shows only one Colorado city that offers its residents a high-speed fiber optic network:
Provider: Longmont Power & Communications
Services Offered: Data, Voice
Area Served: Longmont
Longmont is currently building a fiber optic network that will eventually cover the entire city and offer high speed internet to every business and residence in the city.
Longmont also offers free WiFi service at Clark Centennial Park, Garden Acres Park, Kanemoto Park, Roosevelt Park, and Sandstone Ranch as well as the Longmont Library, Vance Brand Municipal Airport, and on Main Street from First to Fourth avenues during downtown events.
Longmont offers free WiFi to qualified low-income customers through the “Digital Divide” program in cooperation with the St. Vrain Valley School District