In the digital era, the internet is not a luxury anymore. It is more than a necessity. With the evolution of technology, everyone has access to the internet, no matter whether it be a DSL, fiber, hotspot, or satellite internet.

Admit it or not, our lives have largely disrupted due to the internet. Imagine shutting down the internet services globally – our lives would come to a halt. From financial transactions to online shopping and entertainment to socializing on networking sites our day-to-day activities are dependent on internet.

However, your limited resources and the low-income bracket does not have to stop you from accessing the internet. Apart from advertised fees, Internet Service Providers charge you for equipment, activation fees, contract termination fees, increase in prices after one or two year completion – so forth and so on. In the end, the whopping bill above hundreds of dollars isn’t something low-income families could afford.

There is a way to get high-speed internet access for low-income students, senior citizens, or families. Of course, everyone has the right to food, transport, accommodation – internet is no exception. Internet has become the necessity instead of luxury as we discussed earlier.

Let’s have a look at some of the options available to be eligible for affordable internet services.

Low Income Internet Options for Families, Senior Citizen, and Students

There are two options to be eligible for affordable internet service.

  •   The first option is the availability of internet provider packages with discounted monthly plans for low-income households. To be eligible for this program, the kids have to be entitled to the National School Lunch Program.
  •   The second option for low-income families, students, and senior citizens is the assistance provided by the government called Lifeline. The Lifeline offers $9.25 per month rebate either on phone or internet service to low income families. If you want to apply for Lifeline, please contact your Internet Service Provider.

Internet Provider Lifeline Assistance Plan

Provider Discounted Price LifeLine Assistance Price
AT&T $10 per month $30.75 per month
CenturyLink N/A $35.75 per month
Cox $9.95 per month $20.74 per month
Frontier N/A $10.75 per month
Mediacom $9.95 per month $40.74 per month
RCN N/A $15.74 per month
Spectrum $14.99 per month $35.74 per month
Xfinity $9.95 per month $20.74 per month

The low-income plans look lucrative but keep in mind that not every home is eligible for the program. Before you apply for the lifeline internet program, make sure to check the availability of Internet Service Provider near you by entering the Zip Code

Things to Know about Low Income Internet Service

Families having K-12 Kids at Home

You can find plenty of internet service providers offering low-cost internet. The majority of programs mainly focus on students to access valuable information online. For this, you need to have a school going kid at home. Moreover, you also need to apply for NSLP, Public Housing (HUD), Supplement Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).

Families not having K-12 Kids at Home

In case, there is no school-age kid at your home, you can still qualify for the low-income internet programs. For instance, Internet Essentials by Comcast and Spectrum Assist Program work for low income households without k-12 kids.

If you have Supplemental Security Income (SSI), you can easily qualify for Spectrum Internet Assist. Moreover, the Internet Essentials from Comcast offers a wide range of programs to community college students, veterans, and seniors who are benefiting from government assistance.

Government assistance is an essential deity to qualify for this program, however, you also need to be a new customer and have no due bills with the internet service provider.

Low Cost Internet Plans for Low Income Households

Low Income
Initiative Provider
Maximum
Download Speed
Base
Price
Qualifying
Programs
AT&T Access 10Mbps $10 per month SNAP
Cox Connect2Compete 15Mbps $9.95 per month NSLP
SNAP
TANF
HUD
Mediacom Connect-2-Compete 10Mbps $9.95 per month NSLP
Spectrum Internet Assist 30Mbps $14.99 per month NSLP
SSI
Internet Essentials from Comcast 15Mbps $9.95 per month NSLP
HUD
Veteran Government Assistance
Senior government assistance
Pell grant

The assistance programs are good enough and highly affordable for low-income households. However, the only problem is low-download speeds. From the rest, Spectrum Internet Assist only meets the Federal Communications Commission requirements of 25Mbps internet.

For casual browsing, checking emails, and socializing on Facebook, 10Mbps speed is good enough. However, the problem is when you want to stream 4K content or want to use the internet on multiple devices simultaneously. You will not enjoy the movie; instead, you will be waiting for it to buffer.

Lifeline Government Assistance Program

Lifeline program is designed to help low-income households with internet costs. Normally people who are living below the stated poverty guidelines, live in tribal areas, or part of federal assistance programs are eligible for this program. The government that works directly with the internet service providers sponsors the lifeline program to reduce the monthly rates for low-income families.

You can benefit from the Lifeline program several times on your internet subscription if you live with other individuals but don’t share your money. However, people living with you must also be eligible and qualify for the program, contingent on poverty guidelines or federal assistance programs. If for some reason people living with you are not considered for the lifeline assistance, you can still accumulate discounts to get low-cost internet.

Here’s how lifeline discounts look like with internet service providers.

Service Provider Package Speed Price Price with
lifeline Assistance
AT&T Access 10Mbps $10 per month SNAP
Cox Connect2Compete 15Mbps $9.95 per month NSLP
SNAP
TANF
HUD
AT&T 5Mbps $40 per month $30.75 per month
CenturyLink 20Mbps $45 per month $35.75 per month
Cox 10Mbps $29.99 per month $20.74 per month
Frontier 6Mbps $20 per month $10.75 per month
Mediacom 60Mbps $49.99 per month $40.74 per month
RCN 25Mbps $24.99 per month $15.74 per month
Spectrum 100Mbps $44 per month $35.74 per month
Xfinity 15Mbps $29.99 per month $20.74 per month

You might have noticed that the lifeline assistance prices are much higher than low-income programs offered by Internet Service Providers. However, it shouldn’t make you sad because most of the big ISPs might not offer low-income programs in your area. Whereas, Lifeline assistance is available throughout the country.

Low-Cost Internet for Low Income Households Review

AT&T Access Internet for Low Income

Access from AT&T delivers internet access to low-income households living in America to get high-speed internet starting from just $5 per month. You have read it right, it’s just $5. If you meet the minimum criteria and live in the AT&T coverage area, you can benefit from this offer.

Around 50% of low-income households in America have access to broadband services at their homes. It’s quite unfortunate for those families having no access to the internet. For instance, families who have no internet access can’t apply for jobs, allow children to do research, and approach medical assistance in case of emergency. The richer families can do the same tasks without any trouble.

AT&T access internet costs only $5 per month with 3Mbps download speed. While 5Mbps and 10Mbps speed costs $10 per month. If you apply for AT&T access internet, the company will make sure to give you the fastest speed available within your area.

AT&T low-income internet has no activation fees. Moreover, it also gives a free wireless router and offer computers to qualifying families for just $149.99. If that’s not enough, there is something more to it. AT&T low income internet also gives 600 GB of data per month, which won’t be consumed even if someone stream movies on Netflix or play games online like Call of Duty. If you are watching videos on YouTube in low resolution, you can watch as many shows and videos without worrying about data limits.

To be eligible for AT&T access internet, at least one individual in the home must receive food stamps. Moreover, the person must also live in 21 states where AT&T service is available. If both of the requirements are met and still not qualify, there must be an outstanding debt for AT&T internet in the past six months.

Apply for AT&T access through a dedicated page at https://accessatt.solixcs.com/#/home or simply call AT&T “access apply” at 1-855-220-5211.

Internet Essentials by Comcast for Low Income

If you are asking, the same question repeatedly “Is there internet for low income families” – the answer is yes. Comcast is one of the biggest cable TV providers offering low-cost internet for families with limited income.

Luckily, if you live in the area where Comcast delivers its services, you can apply for Comcast low-income internet. Comcast's $9.99 internet for low-income families delivers a whooping 15Mbps speed, which is far more enough to browse websites, check emails, stream Netflix and play online games.

If you qualify for Comcast Internet Essentials program, you can also purchase a computer for just $149.99, without bearing any installation charges or activation fees. Moreover, you don’t have to look into your wallet to pay for the equipment – get a wireless router from Comcast and stay connected across all devices.

Norton Security Suite is also included in the package. Normally it costs $160, but if you qualify for the program, you won’t be asked to pay even a penny. If that is not enough, Comcast Internet Essentials also offer free parental control to keep an eye on your kid’s activities.

The eligibility criteria for Internet Essential by Comcast were once limited to people having one kid who qualified for the National School Lunch Program. However, things have changed and other categories of people are included. For instance, people with disabilities, low-income adults, and senior citizens on Medicaid can also apply for Internet Essential by Comcast.

Spectrum Internet Assist for Low Income

Spectrum Internet Assist is yet another program to benefit low-income families to get access to the internet at an affordable cost. If you qualify for Spectrum Internet Assist, you will get internet access for as low as $17.99 per month. The service is available in 38 states.

Spectrum Internet Assist might look expensive as compared to AT&T access and Internet Essentials by Comcast. However, the fact is that you will get 30Mbps download speed for $17.99 without placing any data limits is worth paying.

Stay connected to the internet as long as you want on as many devices without worrying about data limits. Download as many videos as you want and stream movies on your device without buffering issues.

The service provider promised not to increase the price, set at $14.99 per month. Spectrum Internet Assist price increased to $17.99 per month in later time– as the company couldn’t keep up the promise.

Just like Comcast and AT&T, Spectrum offers free Wi-Fi router. People eligible for Spectrum Internet Assist includes:

  •   Families with school-going kids who are also part of the National School Lunch Program.
  •   Senior citizens of 65 or older who are part of Supplementary Security Income.

However, you won’t be eligible for the program, if you had a Time Warner or Charter subscription within 60 days of registering.

Moreover, if the dues are outstanding with any of the three companies, you won’t be eligible to participate unless you clear the dues.

Eligible subscribers can also receive Spectrum’s phone bundle that includes both the internet and home phone. If you are interested in applying for Spectrum Internet Assist, visit the website charter.com/browse/content/spectrum-internet-assist/ or call at 844-525-1574.

Frontier Lifeline Internet for Low Income

Frontier Lifeline internet is another program aimed to offer internet to families with low income. Frontier Lifeline Internet for low income plan starts from $20 per month. If that looks expensive, just wait. The lifeline discount of $9.25 per month is yet to be applied, which makes it around $10 per month.

Hence, the Frontier Lifeline Internet is competitive with AT&T access and Comcast’s internet essentials. Make sure to check the availability of services in your area before applying for the program.

The lifeline discount is applicable is limited to one per household. The lifeline discount is either available on the internet or cellphone plan, but not both. The good thing is that you don’t need to sign a contract with Frontier. However, after the first year of services, the price will jump to $25 per month.

As far internet speeds, Frontier offers 6Mbps, which is more than enough to keep you connected, browse, check emails, and socialize. You will also get a free Wi-Fi router with Frontier Lifeline Internet for low income program.

Frontier works with a non-profit organization called I-T Human to offer a free Chromebook to its lifeline customers. However, the Chromebook is not available in every area and is available for a limited time. Make sure to check whether you will get a Chromebook or not. Presently, Frontier coverage area extends to 29 states that comprise of mostly rural areas.

If you want to apply for Frontier Lifeline Internet, check https://frontier.com/offer/affordable-broadband-chromebook or call at 1.866.868.0547.

There are two ways to qualify for Frontier Lifeline Internet.

  •   Someone in your home must participate in the Federal Assistance Program.
  •   Household income should not exceed certain limits.

Here’s an overview of pricing plans by Frontier Lifeline Internet.

Flat Rate Bundle (unlimited local calls included) Measured Rate Bundle (60 Minutes local calls included)
Lifeline Flat Rate $6.84 Lifeline Flat Rate $3.66
Affordable Broadband $13.99 Affordable Broadband $13.99
Total Price Per Month $20.83 Total Price Per Month $17.65
Less Lifeline Discounts -$9.25 Less Lifeline Discounts -$9.25
Actual Price $11.58 per month Actual Price $8.40 per month

CenturyLink Internet for Low Income

CenturyLink internet basics program is only available to people living in Oregon, Washington, and Tennessee. CenturyLink internet basics for low-income households are devised for families and individuals who can’t afford the internet.

CenturyLink offers high-speed DSL to the people living in the coverage area. The basic internet plan offers 1.5Mbps speed for low-income U.S residents. The program offers high-speed internet for just $9.95 per month for the first year and $14.95 per month after completion of the first year. It also includes a computer for just $150 along with computer education classes.

To get the approval of Federal Communications Commissions in 2011 to purchase Qwest Communications, CenturyLink decided to offer internet basics plan. For anyone to be eligible for CenturyLink low-income internet program, the basic requirements are:

  •   The household income is equal to or less than 135% to 150% of the guidelines set by Federal Poverty. 150% of household income rate is applicable in states including New Jersey, Texas, Arizona, Michigan, Ohio, Nevada, Florida, and Rhode Island. While for the rest, 135% is applicable.
  •   You are part of the government assistance programs including Public Housing Assistance, National School Lunch, Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income, Home Energy Assistance Programs, and Section 8 Housing.

If you want to apply for CenturyLink Internet Basic program, visit centurylink.com/home/internetbasics/ or call at 866-642-0444.

Mediacom Low Income Internet

Mediacom is one of the tenth largest cable TV companies, an active participant in the Connect2Compete program. If you are unaware of the Connect2Compete program – it is a collaboration of non-profit organizations, and private companies working to eradicate the “Digital Divide” separating wealthy from needy Americans.

Mediacom offers internet services in 23 states including North Carolina, South Dakota, Alabama, California, Ohio, and many more. If you live in any of the states, you can subscribe to high-speed internet service for just $9.95 per month.

Whether you are eligible for Mediacom low-income internet or not, just ask the following questions.

  •   Does Mediacom offer its services in your area?
  •   Do you have a child in your house currently eligible for the National School Lunch program?
  •   You have not used Mediacom internet service for at least three months.
  •   Have you cleared the dues being an ex-customer of Mediacom
  •   If you are an ex-Mediacom customer, have you returned all the equipment to the company

Mediacom low-income internet is a great deal for families who can’t afford to have an internet connection. For just $9.95 per month, up to two years, Mediacom offers seamless connectivity. However, the only condition is that one child in the house must remain eligible for a reduced price.

After enrolling in Connect2Compete, the subscriber will be able to receive internet service for $9.95 per month along with tax for two years. However, that does not end the story here. After two years, you have to re-qualify for the program under the same rules and guidelines.

The download speed offered by Mediacom is 1.5Mbps. It might not be suitable for those who want to binge-watch TV series on Netflix, HBO, or Hulu. However, it is enough to find jobs, do assignments, or browse the internet casually.

The Internet without a computer is of no use. If you can’t afford to buy a computer, Mediacom and Connect2Compete have got your back. Eligible households can purchase a computer as low as $162 and tablets for $142 along with free shipping. In addition, you will get a 90-day warranty on each computer.

Mediacom offers 150 gigabytes per month data for each account. But, if the data exceeds the said amount, it would cost $10 along with taxes and other fees. Make sure that you are aware of all the nitty-gritty details before you start downloading movies every night.

The majority of allies of the Connect2Compete program oblige you to visit everyoneon.org to apply for it. However, with Mediacom, you can visit directly to their website mediacomc2c.com. You can simply find an application by clicking Apply Today. If you want to contact their customer support, call at 855-904-2225.

Summing Up

The Internet is the need of every household. Whether it be kid or old, wealthy or poor, we are all dependent on it directly or indirectly. However, high-prices along with equipment fees, installation cost, activation fees, taxes, and surge in base price after the first year makes it difficult for low-income households to afford.

Keeping in view the above scenario, the government and internet service providers have come forward to help low-income households to get the basic internet facility. With varying prices and almost similar requirements to qualify for the program, make sure to check the criteria.