Whether you’re a student researching for an assignment or an adult looking for a job, the internet plays a vital role in the completion of these tasks. The Internet is no longer a luxury that you can do without. Like food and water, it is a basic need essential to sustenance in the 21st century. It has become the primary medium of communication so much so that lack of access to the technology can turn you into a social outcast.Unfortunately, access to the internet does not come cheap. While this technology is redefining how we think and feel, and how we live, it still escapes the grasp of many. It is useful to all including the senior citizens who’d once found adapting to technology hard. Now, the internet is just as important for seniors to stay in touch with the world around them.
Fortunately, the government is taking steps to ensure that no one is left behind. They offer discounts to ensure there are plans to make the internet accessible for low-income families and also for seniors.
Similarly, cable TV is just as important. It brings communities closer, is greatly used to share news and getting cut off from this mode of communication may also feel like being excluded from society. Thus, cable TV is just as important for low-income families.
We have created a guide to help you navigate your way through low-income cable TV and internet packages that we are sure you will love.
To make sure everyone has access to the internet, the government has introduced a couple of programs to assist low-income families. If a member of your household, including yourself, participate in any federal assistance program, you may be eligible for Lifeline.
Lifeline, a program by the Federal Communication Commission, helps you lower either the monthly phone or internet bill. You get a flat discount or subsidy of $9.25 a month on one of your bills. It is limited to one subsidy per household. Here is a list of federal assistance programs that if you use, automatically make you eligible for Lifeline.
If you participate in the following tribal assistance programs, these can also render you qualified for Lifeline.
If you already participate in other government programs, getting Lifeline should be easy. You must provide proof that you are registered with these programs by submitting a card or an award letter from SNAP or Medicaid.
Find an internet or phone service in your area that you’d like to subscribe to and ask for an application. Windstream, Frontier Communications and RCN have some of the best options out there. The form would ask you for details like your full legal name, date of birth, address, and the last four digits of your Social Security Number or your Tribal Identification Number. They might also ask that you show a valid identity card, Medicaid card, Social Security card or other documents as proof of identity.
The company you’ve selected will then process your request. They may ask for additional papers. Once approved, you can sign up with them and your bill will be adjusted in accordance with your Lifeline discount.
If you do not receive assistance from a government program, you can still get a subsidy of $9.25 on your monthly bills based on your income. If your income is equal to or below 135% of the federal poverty benchmark, you will be eligible for the Lifeline program.
The process to avail yourself of Lifeline, in this case, is a little different. Here too you will have to prove you are eligible. You can do this by showing the following documents.
The proof you show will vary but the rest of the process is the same. Just choose a company and ask for an application. Submit it with your details. The company will process the same and adjust the bill according to the subsidy. You will have to renew your Lifeline subscription each year.
Also, don’t be shy about asking for discounts. A lot of internet providers offer discounts for military and veteran families and of course senior citizens.
If you do not qualify for Lifeline or prefer to use the $9.25 subsidy to get cheap cable TV for low-income families and still want an internet service for less, there is a way. Many internet service providers offer assistance programs to families with low-income.
The services offered varies from region to region so you might want to check if the packages are available in your area. We have compiled a list of low-income internet providers for you:
Xfinity ’s Internet Essentials program is the bomb. Designed to help students as well as provide low-cost internet for seniors and families with low income, the program offers 15Mbps internet connection with free in-home Wi-Fi, all for just $9.95. It also does not require a credit check, which is a huge plus.
The service also offers low-cost computers through the program. If you qualify for the program, you can pick out a laptop or desktop computer with Norton Security and Microsoft Office for $149.99. You’d also get a 90-day warranty in the deal.
All you need to do to avail yourself of this offer is to fill out an application. The company will then process it and if you match their criteria, you’ll get approved. The criteria necessitate that for a family to qualify, at least one of the children must be eligible for the National School Lunch Program among a few other requirements.
Spectrum also offers its own assistance program called Internet Assist. You get a 30Mbps internet connection with unlimited data and no contract for just $14.99 a month. It’s even faster than the Xfinity connection and honestly, what more can you ask for?
Internet Assist has a criterion similar to Xfinity’s. At least one member of the household must participate in the National School Lunch Program, Supplemental Security Income (for people aged 65 or above) or Community National Eligibility Provision of the NSLP.
The only downside is that if you want Wi-Fi, you’ll have to dish out an additional; $5 a month.
To apply for the Internet Assist program, simply ring them up at 1-855-423-0918.
If the price point for Spectrum is a little high for you and Xfinity is absent in your area fret not. There are tons of options out there. Cox offers its own low cost internet. Part of the Connect2Compete program, their package aims to help K-12 students explore their potential by providing internet access to families who could otherwise not afford it. For $9.95 a month, Cox’s Low-Cost Internet can be utilized by families that have at least one child enrolled in kindergarten or from grade 1 to 12.
The families must also be partaking in the following programs to qualify:
The process is straightforward, simply fill out a form which you will easily find on their website.
Mediacom is also part of the Connect2Compete program. It partners with EveryoneOn and offers low cost internet to students registered with NSLP. You can get 10 Mbps Mediacom connection with a Wi-Fi modem for the low price of $9.95 a month.
You can check out their Connect2Compete application online.
Another low cost internet option is AT&T ’s Access program. You get 10Mbps- fast internet for $10 a month. To qualify, the family must have one member registered with the SNAP program.
To learn more about low cost AT&T internet call 1-855-820-1220 at any time.All you need to do is visit their page and fill out a form.
Another great $9.95 deal around the corner is CenturyLink ’s Internet Basics plan. While the speed they offer is a mere 1.5 Mbps, it is more widely available. If you’re based in a remote area with no provider in sight, chances are CenturyLink may be there to help you out.
To qualify for their plan, you must meet the requirements for the Lifeline program for which you must either be earning equal to or less than 135% of the federal poverty benchmark for your state or participate in a federal or tribal low-income assistance program.
You can find the link to apply on their website.
If you’re looking for cable TV for low-income families, you might want to check out our guide for Basic Cable Channels and Basic Cable Packages . You’ll find great options for your budget and if you pair it with your government discount, you’ll be walking away with a great deal for sure.
Finding the right package is no easy task and sometimes the hidden charges can really make the budget-friendly option anything but light on your pocket. There are tons of things you must watch out for and to help you out, we’ve compiled the ultimate list.
Many internet plans offer a low introductory price to attract customers. Over time though, these prices increase and the package can turn into a burden on your budget. You might want to keep tabs on your monthly bill, especially after every three, six, 12 and 24 months, that’s when its likely the prices will increase. If your monthly bill has increased you can call your internet provider and negotiate again for the same deal. If they are unwilling to accommodate you, you might want to consider changing providers.
Some internet providers are not as transparent about the charges as you’d like. You might think you’re getting a great deal at $15 only to find a total amount of $30 charged on your monthly bill for things like taxes, equipment rentals, installation fees, etc. You might want to cancel straightaway only to find termination of contract will cost you a lot more. When you talk to your provider make sure you ask for all such information.
The high-speed internet that can stream 4K content in seconds may sound exciting, but if you’re not someone super into it, you’re just buying on impulse. Worse, you might get it only to realize you don’t have the hardware to support the high resolution or a modem that can keep up with the speed. It’s possible all you need is the basic internet plan. So before you buy, reflect on what you really need.
While some families qualify for free or subsidized internet packages like Lifeline, many don’t and the internet is no doubt expensive. If you want to save some hard-earned cash and are looking for low cost internet options, there are a few packages out there for you.
Some providers offer limited free internet service so if you need the bare basic, you could give them a shot.
NetZero gives you 10 hours of internet time a month through dial-up for free. All you need is a landline. Granted the speed is agonizingly slow, around 56 Kbps which is half of 1 Mbps, but you can easily email, message, and browse. You won’t be able to play online games but for the most part, you’re covered.
Another great option for free internet is FreedomPop. You can get a free mobile phone service as well as home internet service through 4G LTE connections. Their high-speed internet is reportedly faster than a DSL connection and by extension, faster than a dial-up connection, which is a major plus point. On the downside though, you can only use 1GB of internet.
The best and easiest option though is to simply use free public Wi-Fi at stores, parks, libraries, cafés and other such establishments.
Another way you can get low income cable is by getting your own antenna. You can simply tune into the frequency of whichever local cable channel you desire and that’s it. However, the process is not as simple and you might want to look up a guide for it.
As the internet and cable take up a new meaning, becoming the primary medium through which we communicate and also form relationships, there is a growing need to ensure everyone has access to this technology. We hope this discussion was helpful. If you know another way to get low cost internet and cable, reach out to us and drop a message below. If you already use the hacks, tell us about your experience. We’d love to hear from you.
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