Affordable Internet Programs for Low & Fixed Income Households
Let’s be realistic- COVID-19 pandemic is tremendously impacting nearly every aspect of our daily lives. The deadly virus that initially started from China took over the world in no time. It targets without discrimination and has infected more than 2.5 million around the world.
In many countries, governments have enforced complete lockdown to curb the further spread of this deadly contagion. Students all over the world are stuck at home, the working labor force is facing a financial crisis and the world’s economy is about to collapse like nothing we have ever seen before.
However, the world is trying to fight this together and governments are doing everything they can to make sure that students and people who can work from home, continue to learn and provide their services, respectively.
Professionals from different fields including research, sales, teaching, marketing are now benefitting from the modern tools of technology and high-speed internet to meet their deadlines right from the comfort of their homes.
As every individual needs internet access in these dire times, many Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are offering low-income internet programs to make indefinite periods of staying at home bearable. Besides that, the government is also offering subsidies that can help with internet bill.
These plans have been specifically designed for low-income families who are financially strapped and yet have a need of staying connected and these plans can give them access at a very low cost
What is Lifeline?
Lifeline is the Federal Communications Commission (FCC’s) program that offers plans that cater directly to low or fixed income consumers. This program plays a crucial role in overcoming the digital divide by making communication service affordable for low and fixed income households.
With Lifeline, eligible low-income subscribers get to enjoy discounted service. It typically offers at least $9.25 per month discount on broadband, wireless phone service, landline phone service, or bundled services to eligible low-income subscribers.
Do I Qualify for Lifeline?
To qualify for the Lifeline program, you must have an income that is at or below 135% of the federal poverty guidelines. What you need to remember is that these guidelines vary with the state you live in and the size of your household.
If any member including a child or dependent in your household is eligible for federal assistance programs listed below, then you are eligible for the Lifeline program as well.
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA)
Veterans Pension & Survivors Benefits
Tribal Programs for Native Americans
Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
How Does Lifeline Work?
In order to apply for Lifeline, you must qualify for this program. Once you know that you are eligible to benefit from it, then all you have to do is pick your preferred participating provider in your area and sign up. There are a variety of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) that participate in Lifeline benefits programs including:
In order to sign up successfully, you need to give proof of your eligibility. Bear in mind, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) strictly prohibits more than one Lifeline service per household so make a wise decision when choosing between a phone or an internet subsidy. Once you have subscribed, you will have to renew your Lifeline subscription every year.
Internet Service Providers
There is no denying the fact that the country is already experiencing serious disruptions due to the novel COVID-19 pandemic. In order to ensure that people do not lose their broadband and telephone connectivity during these uncertain times, different ISPs have also come up with their own assistance programs for families in low-income households.
If, unfortunately, you are not eligible for Lifeline or you just do not prefer to use the benefit for phone service, this can certainly turn out to be a great option for your entire household.
Free Internet Access to Comcast Xfinity
Comcast Xfinity is offering 60 days of complimentary Internet Essentials service to new eligible customers. This service is certainly the most comprehensive and nation’s largest internet adoption program for low-income households.
Internet Essentials is especially designed with seniors, students and low income families in mind. The provider is also committed to helping bridge the digital divide, hence, it has permanently increased speeds for all its new and existing Internet Essentials customers across the country. In order to apply for this program, you will have to fill out an application and wait to get approval.
Comcast Xfinity Wi-Fi hotspots are also free and open to easy access by anyone.
Free Access to Spectrum Broadband and Wi-Fi for Students
Charter Spectrum’s Internet Assist program is almost similar to the Internet Essentials offered by Xfinity. Households with students K–12 or university students who do not already have a Spectrum broadband subscription can sign up for a new Charter Spectrum internet account to get free Spectrum broadband and Wi-Fi access for 60 days with internet speeds up to 100 Mbps. In addition, Charter has also waived off installation fees for new student households.
Spectrum has also opened Wi-Fi hotspots for public use. They are free and can be used by anyone.
Altice Offers Free Internet for Students
Altice internet providers Suddenlink and Optimum leave no stone unturned in providing connectivity solutions to their customers even during these unprecedented times. They are helping schools and students stay connected by offering 60 days of free internet service for households with K–12 or college students who do not currently have access to home internet.
The best part of this program is that you get to enjoy internet speeds up to 30 Mbps if you have not already signed up for a home internet plan. Call 8445208978 to get free internet.
Access program by AT&T aims at offering up to 10 Mbps internet for $10.00 per month to keep eligible low-income families connected. At least one member in the family has to be a part of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) program to be eligible for this internet service.
Mediacom understands that access to technology at home is crucial for continuation of students’ education, hence it is offering an inexpensive internet program to help students reach their full potential. Students eligible for National School Lunch Program (NSLP) can get 10 Mbps internet and Wi-Fi modem for $9.95 per month.
Home internet, without a doubt, is a crucial aspect of today’s education system. This is the primary reason why Cox is opening doors to a world of countless opportunities for students of all ages by offering an affordable internet program for low-income households.
Connect2Complete is a low cost internet program by Cox that only costs $9.95 per month. You must be a part of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Public Housing, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), National School Lunch Program, or your household must have at least one K-12 student in order to qualify for this affordable internet program. To apply for the program, every applicant will have to provide documentation for eligibility.
The Keep Americans Connected Pledge
In response to the coronavirus outbreak, the Federal Communications Commission launched the Keep Americans Connected Pledge on March 13, 2020. Every broadband and telephone provider is requested to take the Keep Americans Connected Pledge in order to ensure that Americans would continue to be able to access the internet and not face any kind of broadband or telephone connectivity issue as a result of these unusual circumstances. More than 700 associations and companies across the country have signed the pledge. Here is what these companies have agreed to:
Service to any residential or small business internet customers will not be halted because of their inability to pay their bills on time amid COVID-19 disruptions.
All public Wi-Fi hotspots run by the provider will not only be free but also open for public use.
Any late fees that any residential or small business internet customers incur due to their financial issues caused by the coronavirus pandemic will be waived.
Needless to say, people from all walks of life rely on high-speed internet in nearly every aspect of their lives. This is the primary reason why every internet service provider out there is trying its best to ensure availability of the internet to every individual. Unfortunately though, low and fixed income families are still deprived of this essential need.
However, due to the disruption caused by the ongoing pandemic, FCC has requested all the internet service providers to keep people connected by relaxing data caps and offering free internet service to low-income individuals.
It is understandable that being stuck at home for unlimited time can take a toll on your mental health, hence, the majority of ISPs are ensuring that their customers maintain reliable access to online resources and the information they want and need. So, stay home and make the most of these inexpensive internet programs to do what you love without losing your mind.