Oregon is the 16th most connected state. And there are 173 broadband providers in the state.
There are 31,000 people in Oregon with no access to broadband. No cable. No DSL. No fixed wireless. No mobile internet. Nothing.
Of the 3.9 million Oregonians, 238,000 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). And 51,000 of those people are stuck with low data caps because their only internet options are fixed wireless or mobile broadband.
Poverty has not been solved in this progressive paradise. The overall poverty rate is 16.7%. The child poverty rate is 23%. The senior poverty rate is 8%. And the extreme poverty rate is 7.3%.
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
- 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 state.
- 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 Oregon.
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 municipal broadband networks available in Oregon:
Provider: Ashland Fiber Network
Services Offered: Video, Data, Voice
Area Served: Ashland
AFN’s fiber network spans the community, making it simple for prospective residents and businesses to connect. Approximately 6,000 customers take advantage of AFN’s 1 Gbps high-speed fiber optic solutions.
Services Offered: Voice, Data, Video
Area Served: Monmouth and Independence
MiNet is a local telecommunications company serving the cities of Monmouth and Independence, Oregon. It’s a public, non-profit utility funded solely by user fees. It delivers gigabit speeds to approximately 5,000 customers in Northwestern Oregon’s Willamette Valley.
Provider: SandyNet Fiber
Services Offered: Data, voice, video
Area Served: Sandy
Located southeast of Portland, Sandy, Oregon is currently building a gigabit speed fiber optic network to replace its existing wireless network. At one time the system served business only, but residential customers will be included in the new network.
Provider: Sherwood Broadband
Services Offered: Data
Area Served: Sherwood, portions of Portland Metro area
The Sherwood Broadband network is an all fiber optic network that encompasses much of the City of Sherwood and major portions of the Portland Metro area. Customers can also utilize wireless access at various locations around town including Downtown Sherwood, Senior Center, YMCA, Police Department, and Public Works facility.