Oklahoma does not do well in terms of connectivity. It is the 46th most connected state (which is the nice way of saying it’s the fifth lowest) despite the fact that it is home to 124 broadband providers.
There are 22,000 people in Oklahoma with no access to broadband. No cable. No DSL. No fixed wireless. No mobile internet. Nothing.
Of the 3.9 million Oklahomans, 838,000 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 those, 422,000 are stuck with low data caps because their only sources for internet are fixed wireless or mobile broadband.
The state may be oil-rich, but many of its people are desperately poor. The overall poverty rate is 16.8%. The child poverty rate is 24%. The senior poverty rate is 10%. And the extreme poverty rate is, unfortunately, 7.2%.
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.
- Access from AT&T
- Cox Low-Income 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.
Unfortunately, none of the Federal Communication Commission’s Lifeline Broadband Pilot Programs were conducted in Oklahoma.
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.”
Here are the providers in Oklahoma:
Provider: City of Ponca City
Services Offered: Wifi
Area Served: Ponca City
The fast fiber network is reserved for local businesses and municipal purposes. However, the city also offers residents a free, citywide wifi network that has been called “the fastest in the nation”.
Provider: DiamondNet (Sallisaw Municipal Authority)
Services Offered: Voice, Data, Video
Area Served: Sallisaw
The city of Sallisaw expects its fiber optic network to eventually serve 3,000 households and 100-150 business when it is completely built out.