As you might expect, mountainous, sparsely-populated Vermont ranks almost at the bottom of state connectivity ratings. It is, in fact, the 49th most connected state despite having 37 broadband providers in the state.
There are 46,000 people in Vermont with no access to broadband. No cable. No DSL. No fixed wireless. No mobile internet. Nothing.
Of the 626,000 Vermonters, 100,000 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). A total of 11,000 people are stuck with low data caps because their only sources of internet are fixed wireless or mobile broadband.
Vermont’s a relatively prosperous state, and yet it is still plagued by poverty. It’s overall poverty rate is 12.3%. It’s child poverty rate is 15%. Its senior poverty rate is 11.0%. And its extreme poverty rate is 5.0%. All lower than most states, perhaps, but any poverty is too much poverty.
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.
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: Vermont Telephone
Vermont Telephone and Connected Nation tested subsidy design by offering two different wireline broadband plans. Normally, Vermont Telephone’s retail plans provide a lower rate during the first six months, and then increase to a higher monthly charge. In one test, they tested a $9.95 monthly charge for a full year. In the second test, they charged $9.95 per month for the first three months and $14.95 for the following nine months.
Lifeline Broadband Pilot Programs
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 offering residential service in Vermont:
Provider: Burlington Telecom
Services Offered: Voice, Data, Video, Business Services
Area Served: Burlington
Burlington Telecom delivers fiber optic broadband speeds no one else can match in the Burlington area. Its “two-way” internet service means you get identical download and upload speeds. It current serves approximately15,400 customers.
Services Offered: Voice, Business Services
Area Served: Consortium of 23 Vermont towns (including Braintree, Barnard, Bethel, Brookfield, Chelsea, Granville, Hancock, Hartford, Montpelier, Norwich, Pittsfield, Pomfret, Randolph, Reading, Rochester, Royalton, Sharon, Stockbridge, Strafford, Thetford, Tunbridge, and Vershire)
ECFiber is building a 180-mile fiber-optic network. New subscribers and active customers are being added daily. Service is available to all premises along the routes.