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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, access to home 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 as well as seniors.
We have created a detailed guide to help you navigate your way through home internet and phone 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, participates in any federal assistance program, then you may be eligible for the following programs:
Lifeline, a program by the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) since 1985, helps low-income households with their monthly phone, internet, or combined phone/internet bill. Eligible households get a flat discount or subsidy of up to $9.25/mo. and up to $34.25/mo. if they’re from Tribal lands on one of the bills. It is limited to one subsidy per household.
Here is a list of federal assistance programs that if you use, automatically makes you eligible for Lifeline.
Alternately, if your dependent or child participates in any of the above programs, then you may still be eligible for Lifeline.
FCC launched the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) on December 31, 2021 to provide additional support to make home internet more affordable for certain low-income households. This internet discount program is a long-term replacement of Emergency Broadband Benefit, which was a response to lack of broadband affordability during the COVID-19 crises.
Currently, the ACP offers a discount of up to $30/mo. for internet services to eligible households and up to $75/mo. to households on qualifying Tribal lands. Besides this, the FCC also provides a one-time discount of up to $100 to the eligible households for purchases, such as different types of laptops, tablets, desktops, and more. However, the participants must contribute more than $10 and less than $50 toward the purchase price.
Note: The ACP discount is applicable to any internet plan you choose with a service provider that participates in the FCC initiative. For more details, please visit this page.
The ACP is limited to one monthly service discount and one device discount per household. To be eligible for the ACP Program, you must meet at least one of the given criteria below.
To enroll into the Lifeline program, find a home internet or phone service in your area that you’d like to subscribe to and ensure they’re a Lifeline or ACP participant. If you already have a service, you may ask your provider to apply your Lifeline or ACP benefit. On the other hand, you may directly go to the Lifeline National Verifier application system to check for your eligibility and apply for the program. As for ACP, go to getInternet.gov (AccedeaInternet.gov en español) to submit an application.
The applications 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. Plus, you must provide proof that you are registered with an aforementioned program by submitting a card or an award letter from SNAP or Medicaid.
The ISP 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 or ACP discount.
Also, don’t be shy about asking for discounts directly from your provider. A lot of home internet providers offer discounts for military and veteran families and of course senior citizens. Eligible consumers can get a discount on their internet, phone or bundled services bills.
If you do not qualify for Lifeline or ACP program, then there is another 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 provider and its offers are available in your area. We have compiled a list of low-income internet providers for you:
Xfinity 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 up to 50 Mbps of home internet connection with free in-home Wi-Fi, all for just $9.95/mo. It also does not require a credit check, which is a huge plus.
Xfinity also offers Internet Essentials Plus plan, which offers internet speeds up to 100 Mbps for $29.95 only per month. So, just in case you are looking for an internet plan with higher speed, you might want to check it out!
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 + tax. You’d also get a 90-day warranty in the deal.
All you need to do to get this offer is to fill out an application. Xfinity 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 member must be eligible for a program, such as National School Lunch Program, housing assistance, Medicaid, SNAP, or others, among a few other requirements.
Spectrum low income internet program called Internet Assist. You get up to $30/mo. in discount with a Spectrum Internet plan, which includes unlimited data, a modem and security suite, plus no contract!
Spectrum Internet Assist has criteria 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 Spectrum Advanced WiFi, you’ll have to dish out an additional $5 a month.
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 offers speeds up to 100 Mbps, wifi modem, and EasyConnect self-install.
The process is straightforward; simply fill out a form that you will easily find on their website.
Or you could just call 855-349-9316 to find low-cost Cox home internet options at your address.
Xtream by Mediacom is also part of the Connect2Compete program. It partners with EveryoneOn and offers low cost internet to K-12 students registered with NSLP. You can get 25 Mbps of Mediacom connection with a Wi-Fi modem, free installation, and unlimited date for the low price of $9.95 a month.
Mediacom also offers a 100 Mbps internet plan to low-income households for $30 a month; however, it’s only available to households qualifying for ACP. You can even get free internet if your are able to apply your ACP credit!
You can check out their Connect2Compete application online, or call 855-349-9315 for more details.
Another low cost internet option is the AT&T Access program. AT&T offers up to 100 Mbps fast internet for up to $30 a month. Besides this, you will get to enjoy numerous perks with the plan, such as, free installation, in-home Wi-Fi® and no annual contract. If you combine your ACP benefit with AT&T Access, you can get your home internet for free. To get started, all you need to do is visit their Access from AT&T page and fill out a form.
To qualify, the family must have one member registered with a program i.e. SNAP, NSLP, or SSI if residing in California, or have a household income below 200% of federal poverty guidelines.
Like home internet and voice services, 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 essential for low-income households.
If you’re looking for low-cost cable TV or other TV services, you might want to check out this link for basic TV 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 3, 6, 12 and 24 months, that’s when it’s 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 or Affordable Connectivity Program, many don’t and the internet is no doubt expensive. If you want to save your hard-earned cash and are looking for low-cost internet options, there are a few options out there for you.
Another way you can get low-income cable is by getting your own Over the Air (OTA) HD 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 takes 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, phone, and cable TV, 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!
Call 855-349-9328 now and learn about discounts, plans, and low-income internet packages!
Xfinity Internet Essentials provides economical home internet to low-income households ($9.95 per month for up to 50 Mbps, or $29.95 per month for up to 100 Mbps), along with low-cost laptops, desktops, tablets and more. Call 844-207-8721 for more information or subscribe to Xfinity.
You can check out free internet website like NetZero which gives you 10 hours of internet time a month through dial-up for free, or FreedomPop which gives you a free mobile phone service as well as home internet service through 4G LTE connections.
The best and easiest option though is to simply use free public Wi-Fi at stores, parks, libraries, cafés and other such establishments.
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