Access to the internet is no longer a luxury in today’s interconnected world. From paying bills to shopping online, everything is done via the internet, but with internet prices going up to more than $50 a month, it can be severely difficult for low-income families to find internet options within their budget.
However, this brief guide can help you find government assistance and low-income internet options worthy of your money, based on provider-specific programs and income. So if you have a family surviving on a fixed income or a student or a senior struggling to find decent internet options within your budget, we’ve got something for you!
There are tons of ways you can find worthwhile affordable internet options, with the first one being government-funded assistance programs. Lifeline and Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) are 2 that help low-income households afford fast internet speeds for work, school, and healthcare needs. Check them out below!
Lifeline is a government-funded assistance program by the FCC that partners with reliable internet providers to deliver low monthly internet rates for users near or below the federal poverty guidelines, live in tribal regions, or are a part of federal assistance programs.
Lifeline offers a discount of $9.25 on internet and phone services every month to low-income households. Your income should be less than 135% of the federal poverty guidelines to get a discount of $9.25 every month on your internet and phone bills.
Which Programs Qualify for Lifeline?
If you or someone in your family receives government assistance from the following programs, you may be eligible for Lifeline, a program by the FCC that helps reduce monthly phone and internet bills.
- Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA)
- Veterans Pension and Survivors Benefit
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
If you reside in tribal regions and are a part of the following Tribal assistance programs, you may qualify for Lifeline and save up to $200 every month.
- Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance
- Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations
- Tribally-Administered Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
- Head Start
Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP)
One of the best ways to get low-cost internet options is through the new Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). It provides low-income families a discount of $30 every month on internet bills and $75 to those living on tribal lands. You can save more with ACP compared to Lifeline and qualifying households can save $100 on a tablet or computer.
Am I Eligible for the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP)?
You may qualify for the Affordable Connectivity Program if you or a member of your family meets at least one of these requirements:
- Your family’s annual income is less than or equivalent to 200 percent of the federal poverty guidelines
- You get help from the government through SNAP, Medicaid, Federal Public Housing Assistance, WIC, SSI, or Lifeline
- You take part in tribal-specific programs like Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance or Tribal TANF
- You are a National School Lunch Program participant (NSLP)
- you hold a Federal Pell Grant for the current award year
- You are eligible for the low-income programs offered by your internet provider
You can apply online or fill out a form and mail your application to the ACP Support Centre to qualify for ACP and receive discounts. When qualified, get in touch with your participating provider and sign up for an eligible internet plan.
Provider-Specific Low Income Programs
Many internet service providers offer low-income programs to provide internet access to low-income families and households. While you may qualify for the program if you’re a participant in a government-funded assistance program or meet eligibility requirements set by the provider, some providers also require you to have no outstanding bills pending with the provider or that you be a new customer.
Here are a few low-income internet options from reliable providers that help afford internet access.
Internet Essentials from Comcast
If you’re living in an area serviced by Xfinity, you can access the low-income program Internet Essentials from Comcast. For $9.95 plus tax a month, eligible families can enjoy 50 Mbps download speeds and free in-home Wi-Fi. You can also access Xfinity Wi-Fi hotspots nationwide and have the chance to afford a computer.
You can qualify for the program if you or a member of the household is a participant in NSLP, HUD, senior government assistance, veteran government assistance, or Pell Grant.
Spectrum Internet Assist
Spectrum Internet Assist is a popular choice among low-income families because it offers up to 30 Mbps of download speeds and a free modem with optional Wi-Fi service for an additional $5 a month. Plus, you don’t have to sign a contract or worry about data caps with Spectrum deals.
You can qualify for the program if one or more members of the household are part of the NSLP, CEP, or SSI!
Access from AT&T
AT&T’s Access program provides qualifying households and customers with low-cost internet connectivity of up to 100 Mbps for $30 per month or less, depending on the available speeds at your address. There is no installation fee, no deposit, and no contract required as part of the program, plus all qualified users can access 30,000+ nationwide hotspots powered by AT&T and receive an in-home Wi-Fi modem for free!
To be eligible, participants be a part of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), National School Lunch program SSI, live in AT&T’s 21-state service region, and have no outstanding bills with AT&T fixed internet service within the last six months.
To Wrap It Up
How much money you make shouldn’t limit your access to the internet. There are a ton of low-cost internet options for low-income households like Lifeline, ACP, and low-income programs by providers you can qualify for!
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