Low Income Internet Service Providers: Everything You Need to Know

Low Income InternetThe internet has quickly become an all-important utility in our everyday lives. It’s often thought of as equally essential to running water and electricity – and although this comparison might be a little extreme, it is safe to say that an internet connection is very important to many aspects of our lives. We use the internet to work, to do school work, to find jobs, to research solutions to problems, and so much more. But, unfortunately, internet can be expensive, which makes it tough to afford for many of us. Luckily, there are some low income internet service providers that can help.

Most of these low income internet plans are made possible by partnerships between the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and several large internet service providers. In this guide, we’ll go over options for internet for low income families and individuals, who otherwise may not be able to afford a reliable internet connection. Let’s start with the basics!

 

Low Income Internet Plans: What Are They?

Basically, several of the larger internet service providers (ISPs) offer low cost internet service tailored for folks who are low-income. These plans are much more affordable than the standard rates, often in the $5-$20 per month range instead of $40-50+ per month.

Since these low income internet plans are targetted specifically at people who need the help, there are generally strict eligibility requirements. Generally, the plans require you to be able to prove that you’re on some kind of government assistance program, or prove in another way that you’re low-income. Eligibility requirements vary significantly for each program – we’ll go over the details in the individual sections below.

 

What are the Best Low Income Internet Services?

Many different companies offer low-income internet service. Availability varies by your location, as well as your income and other factors. You can check our ISP search tool to find internet service providers in your area. For this guide, we’ll focus on the best options that are available in the widest areas.

 

Access from AT&T – Low Cost Internet Service for $5/month

Cost: As low as $5 per month for up to 3mbps, or $10 per month for up to 10mbps (speed depends on your area). No activation fees, and free wireless router rental included. No contract.

Eligibility Requirements: At least one member of your household must be receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), otherwise known as Food Stamps. In addition, you must live within AT&Ts service area, which includes 21 states. Additionally, California residents may qualify if someone in their household receives SSI benefits.

Features:

  • Speeds from 3mpbs-10mbps, depending on area
  • As low as $5 per month, maximum $10 per month
  • Free router rental for WiFi
  • No deposit
  • No installation fee
  • No contract
  • Very high data caps (so you won’t go over your data limit)
  • Option to purchase a computer for just $149.99

Availability: AT&T Access is available in 21 states, including California, Nevada, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennesee, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin.

 

Comcast Internet Essentials – Low Income Internet for $10/month

Cost: $9.95 per month, plus taxes. No activation fees, free wireless router rental, and no contract.

Eligibility Requirements: First off, to qualify you cannot have outstanding debts owed to Comcast in the last year, and you cannot have been a Comcast subscriber within the last 90 days. In addition, you need to meet one of these eligibility requirements:

a.) Have at least 1 child in the family that qualifies for National School Lunch Program (NSLP) assistance.

b.) Be a recipient of HUD Housing Assistance

c.) Be a low-income senior living in select cities (currently very limited in availability)

d.) Be a community college student receiving Pell Grants and attending a qualifying school (currently very limited in availability)

Options A and B are available nearly everywhere Comcast services are offered, while C and D are in limited trial periods and are not available in many areas.

Features:

  • Speeds up to 10mbps
  • Just $10/month plus tax
  • Free router rental for in-home WiFi
  • No set-up fees
  • No deposit
  • No contract
  • Option to purchase a computer or laptop for $149.99

Availability: Comcast Internet Essentials is available in 41 states, including Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and the District of Columbia (DC).

 

COX Connect2Compete – Affordable Internet Service for $10/month

Cost: $9.95 per month, plus tax. No activation fees, no device rental fees, and no contract.

Eligibility Requirements: To qualify for COX Connect2Compete low-cost internet plans, you’ll need to have at least one student (K-12) living in your household, and your household must be participating in one of the following government assistance programs: SNAP, TANF, Public Housing, or NSLP. Additionally, you cannot have been a COX subscriber in the last 90 days, and you cannot have any outstanding bills or debts to COX.

Features:

  • Speeds up to 10mbps
  • Just $9.95/month plus tax
  • Free router rental for in-home WiFi
  • No set-up or installation fees
  • No contract
  • No deposit

Availability: COX Connect2Compete is available in select areas of Arkansas, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Nebraska, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, and Virginia.

 

MediaCom Connect2Compete – Low-Income Internet for $10/month

Cost: $9.95 per month, plus tax. No contract required. Speeds up to 1.5mbps

Eligibility Requirements: The MediaCom Connect2Compete service is available for families who include children receiving free or reduced-price lunch programs in public schools. In addition, you must live in an area covered by MediaCom, you must not have any outstanding MediaCom debts, and you must not have had MediaCom coverage within the last 90 days.

Features:

  • Speeds up to 1.5mbps
  • No deposit or contract
  • No equipment rental fees
  • Price guaranteed for 2 years
  • No credit check
  • No installation fees
  • Does NOT include wireless service
  • Option to buy discounted computers

Availability: MediaCom’s low-income internet package is available in parts of Alabama, Arizona, California, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

 

CenturyLink Internet Basics – Cheap Internet Service for $10/month

Cost: $9.95 per month, plus tax, for 12 months. 12-month contract required. Speeds up to 1.5mbps

Eligibility Requirements: CenturyLink Internet Basics is a bit different than the services we’ve already discussed. To qualify for it, you must meet the qualifications of the LifeLine phone service program (a federal program). This generally requires you to qualify and participate in another government assistance program, like SNAP, public housing, Medicaid, Section 8 Housing, SSI, or NSLP. You may also qualify if your household income is at or below 150% of the federal poverty level. Additionally, you cannot be a current subscriber of CenturyLink, and you cannot have been a subscriber in the past. You also cannot have any outstanding bills due to CenturyLink, and you must live in an area where the program is offered.

Features:

  • Speeds up to 1.5mbps
  • Just $9.95/month plus tax, for 12 months
  • 12-month contract required
  • Free equipment rental, if needed

Availability: Currently, CenturyLink’s low income internet plans are available in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

 

Low Income Internet: Wrapping Up

The services listed above are the largest and most widely available programs for internet for low-income people. There are definitely others – a more exhaustive list can be found here. It’s also possible that there are some local business that participate in a program in your area.

We recommend checking out our internet provider comparison tool, and contacting our recommended services to find out if you’re eligible for low-income internet.

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Austin Meadows

Austin Meadows is a writer, traveler, and cord-cutting expert based in the rainy but beautiful Pacific North West.
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