New York, the Empire State, is the 5th most connected state. And there are a total of 94 broadband providers offering their wares in the state. But there are 104,000 people in Alabama with no access to broadband. No cable. No DSL. No fixed wireless. No mobile internet. Nothing.
Of the 19.5 million New Yorkers, 995,000 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). Approximately 121,000 of them find themselves trying to cope with low data caps because their only sources of internet are fixed wireless or mobile broadband.
New York has always been a land of extremes — some of the nation’s richest people right alongside some of the poorest. This is reflected in statistics that show the overall poverty rate is 16%. The child poverty rate is 23%. The senior poverty rate is 17%. And, sadly, the extreme poverty rate is 7%.
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
- Comcast’s Internet Essentials
- CenturyLink’s Internet Basics
- Cablevision Economy Internet
- 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.
Who: XChange Telecom
Where: New York
XChange (working with the New York City Housing Authority, Older Adults Technology Services, City University of New York Computer Sciences Department and School of Public Affairs, Baruch College, and City University of New York) tried to increase digital literacy among seniors. They tested a range of subsidies of $10 (reducing the monthly rate to $14.99), $15 (reducing the monthly rate to $9.99) and $20 (reducing the monthly rate to $4.99). The test was conducted in buildings and neighborhoods in Central Brooklyn. They also tested two wireline plans and one fixed-wireless plan.
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.”
Unfortunately, no municipalities in New York have yet invested in municipal broadband networks.