Low Income Internet Options Guide

Low Income Internet Options Guide

Internet has grown to become a central part of our society, relying on readily available high speed access for not only entertainment and recreation, but for working, participating in school, finding a job and even paying your monthly bills. But despite the gravity internet has in our lives, there are many people who will not or cannot use it to benefit their lives.

It’s estimated that 1 in 16 Americans don’t have access at all to broadband internet due to not living within reliable network range. But even in the majority of the country where internet is available, around 10% of those people don’t utilize it because of financial limitations. In addition, about 1 in 3 households with children ages 6-17 don’t have high speed internet, resulting in situations like kids not being able to complete homework assignments because of lack of access to the internet or a computer (this is the case for about 25% of teens in the U.S.)

But as our country tries to overcome this digital divide, there are many options for low income families. U.S. residents can access low cost internet service via nonprofit organizations, utilize government aid or subscribe to programs from major carriers made for providing broadband or technology access to households in need.

Government & Nonprofit Assistance Programs for Affordable Internet

Some of the most promising options for low income families seeking affordable internet service are through various nonprofit organizations, or government assistance. Organizations like the ones listed below provide specialized programs for those in need to receive internet, phone service or even personal computers at low or no cost.

See our summaries of some of the great choices available, the kind of savings they offer and how to qualify for their low income programs.

Organization Service Price How To Qualify
Human-I-T Finding affordable offers $10-$25/month Proof of low income
EveryoneOn Low cost internet & computers $10/month No carrier debt and public assistance eligibility
Lifeline Internet discounts $9.25/month savings Through National Verifier application system
PCs For People 4G LTE internet $15/month Below poverty line, enrolled in government assistance
Tribal Lifeline Internet discounts $34.24/month savings Live on Tribal Lands, enrolled in federal aid/meet income level


Human-I-T’s main drive is repairing and repurposes used electronics, but they have a service dedicated to helping low income families find the most affordable internet subscription offers (available upon qualification following proof of income).

Residents in California may even be eligible to receive a free Google Chromebook laptop in addition to cheaper internet (depending on their chosen provider).


A nonprofit advocating for social and economic equality, EveryoneOne seeks to help low income families find computers and internet subscriptions that are affordable for them.

EveryoneOn partners with several major carriers like AT&T, Comcast and Google connect families with low cost internet options offered by each carrier, providing they fit the eligibility requirements (usually whether they qualify for public assistance programs and have no outstanding debt with the carrier).

Lifeline Program

Lifeline is a program conducted by the FCC that provides discounts on monthly telephone and internet packages through application to the National Verifier application system. Monthly savings of up to $9.25 per month is offered for low income households.

PCs for People

PCs for People serves a wide variety of technological needs for good causes, from computers and internet for low income families to e-cycling for businesses and tech services for nonprofits.

As for internet, PCs for People offers 4G LTE service for eligible families for as low as $15 a month. Eligibility depends upon recipients being below the 200% poverty level and being enrolled in an income-based government assistance program.

Tribal Lifeline

Lifeline is a program conducted by the FCC that provides discounts on monthly telephone and internet packages through application to the National Verifier application system. Monthly savings of up to $9.25 per month is offered for low income households.

Other Low Cost Internet Programs & Offers

Besides nonprofits, many U.S. carriers also offer affordable internet programs for low income families. Many of these are part of the FCC’s Lifeline program described previously, and many are independent programs with discounted rates for qualifying households.

From smaller regional companies to major national carriers, you can find some of the best low cost internet programs from U.S. service providers here.

Provider Low Cost Internet Program Price Internet Speeds How To Qualify
ALLO Communications Community Connect $10/month 50 Mbps Student enrolled in Lincoln Public Schools, Federal Lifeline eligibility
AT&T Access From AT&T <$10/month 25 Mbps Federal aid eligibility
Atlantic Broadband Internet Assist $10/month 15 Mbps Non-customers, public assistance eligibility
BendBroadband Connect2Complete $10/month 25 Mbps Child enrolled in school, eligible for federal aid
CenturyLink Internet Basics $10/month 1.5 Mbps Participate in federal aid/below 135% poverty level
Cincinnati Bell Lifeline Monthly discounts Varies Social service assistance/below poverty level
Cox Communications Connect2Complete $10/month 25 Mbps At least one K-12 student, participation in government assistance
Frontier Communications Lifeline Monthly discounts Varies Social service assistance/below poverty level
Grande Communications Lifeline Monthly discounts Varies Receiving federal assistance/below poverty level
Mediacom Connect2Complete $10/month 25 Mbps K-12 student, qualification for NSLP
MetroNet Lifeline Monthly discounts Varies Eligible for government aid/below poverty line
RCN Internet First $10/month 25 Mbps K-12 student, qualification for NSLP
Rise Broadband Lifeline Monthly discounts Varies Eligible for government aid/below poverty line
Spectrum Internet Assist $10/month 30 Mbps K-12 student, qualification for NSLP
Starry Starry Connect $15/month 30 Mbps Based on housing location
TDS Lifeline Monthly discounts Varies Eligible for government aid/below poverty line
Windstream Kinetic Lifeline Monthly discounts Varies Eligible for government aid/below poverty line
WOW! Lifeline Monthly discounts Varies Eligible for government aid/below poverty line
Xfinity Internet Essentials $10/month 25 Mbps Public assistance eligibility
Ziply Fiber Lifeline Monthly discounts Varies Eligible for government aid/below poverty line

ALLO Communications Community Connect

This regional communications company serves the Nebraska area and offers a program called Community Connect for both residents and nonprofits. For households that have a student enrolled in Lincoln Public Schools and who are also eligible for the FCC’s Lifeline program, they have access to a 50 Mbps internet subscription for just $10 per month.

Access From AT&T

Many major carriers also have options for low income customers, including the Access From AT&T program. With this, families can have internet service of up to 25 Mbps for $10 a month or less, with no annual contract or installation cost.

Qualification depends on eligibility for programs like the Supplemental Nutritional Access program (SNAP), SSI (for California residents) and based on income levels or National School Lunch and Head Start program participation. However, income-based and NSL/HS qualifiers are only active through June 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Atlantic Broadband Internet Assist

Atlantic Broadband offers the Internet Assist program for non-customers in their service area. For families who qualify for public assistance such as the National School Lunch Program, Housing Assistance, Medicaid and others, they can subscribe to a 15 Mbps internet package from Atlantic for $10 per month.

Also, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Atlantic Broadband is also offering the Internet Assist package free for 60 days for families in need, along with free installation and a free modem for the service.

BendBroadband Connect2Complete

BendBroadband seeks to connect families in central Oregon to high speed internet, and their Connect2Complete program aims to provide discounts for struggling homes. For $10 per month, families can get 25 Mbps internet with a free wireless modem for up to 2 years (at which point they can recertify for continued service).

To be eligible, families must have at least one child enrolled in K-12 school, must not have been a recent BendBroadband customer, and need to apply through Habitat for Humanity, Boys & Girls Club of Bend or the Family Access Network.

CenturyLink Internet Basics

For Oregon, Tennessee and Washington State, CenturyLink’s Internet Basics program offers internet speeds of 1.5 Mbps for $10 a month. If your family qualifies for government assistance or is below the 135% poverty level, you can participate in an Internet Basics plan.

Cincinnati Bell Lifeline

Cincinnati Bell participates in the FCC’s Lifeline initiative, providing telephone or internet discounts for families receiving government aid or living below the poverty level. The discounts given through Cincinnati Bell vary depending on coverage area. The Lifeline standard discount of $9.25 per month applies, and users get varying discounted rates on internet/phone subscription or installation costs depending on if they’re in Kentucky or Ohio.

Cox Connect2Complete

Cox Communications offers affordable internet of up to 25 Mbps for $10 per month to qualifying households through Connect2Complete. To be eligible, families must have at least one child enrolled in K-12 school and participate in federal government assistance.

Frontier Lifeline

FCC’s Lifeline program is also available through Frontier Communications. With the base discount of $9.25 per month of phone or internet service (more for certain situations such as Tribal Land residents), Frontier users across the country can get substantial discounts of internet subscriptions, phone service and even service installation or modems.

Grande Communications Lifeline

Covering much of Texas, Grande Communications offers affordable phone and internet service through the FCC’s Lifeline program. Eligible households must qualify for government assistance or live with income below the poverty line, and will then receive discounts on monthly internet, installation service or equipment.

Mediacom Connect2Complete

In cooperation with the EveryoneOn national non-profit program, Mediacom offers 25 Mbps broadband for families for just $10 per month. Qualifying households must fall within their service area (primarily Midwest and Southeast U.S.), have a student enrolled in K-12 school who’s eligible for NSLP and you cannot be a current Mediacom customer.

MetroNet Lifeline

A phone and fiber optic internet provider primarily serving areas of Indiana, MetroNet users can also benefit from the FCC’s Lifeline initiative. Families receiving assistance from Medicaid, SNAP, SSI or other related programs or falling below the 135% poverty line can qualify for discounts on MetroNet’s monthly internet and phone service.

RCN Internet First

RCN offers phone and internet service in several Northeastern U.S. cities, and their Internet First program allows qualifying households to subscribe to their internet services for $10 per month at speeds up to 25 Mbps. Participation in government assistance programs or income below the poverty line necessary to qualify, and eligible families also get 60 days of service for free upon signing up.

Rise Broadband Lifeline

Rise Broadband offers a wide coverage area of fixed wireless internet across 19 states, and low income users can benefit from FCC’s Lifeline program through Rise. Participation in government assistance or living below the 135% poverty level can qualify families for receiving unlimited local calling as well as monthly discounts on Rise Broadband’s internet service.

Spectrum Internet Assist

Spectrum offers cable and fiber internet across 44 states, and qualified households can get their service at affordable monthly rates. Recipients of government assistance like NSLP, SSI or those below the poverty line can get low cost 30 Mbps internet for $10 a month, optional WiFi for an additional $5 per month and a free modem.

Starry Connect

Starry provides wireless and broadband internet across six states, and their Starry Connect program sees them partnering with public and affordable housing owners to installation internet in their communities at no cost to the families. This means that Starry’s network solution for low income families depends upon their housing situation and not on whether they participate in government assistance (a qualifier for affordable internet offers from most other companies).

TDS Lifeline

TDS supplies cable, fiber or copper internet in 27 states but are focused around the Great Lakes region. Through the FCC’s Lifeline program, eligible households can get discounts on either internet, landline or wireless service. Eligibility depends on participation in government assistance (Medicaid, SNAP, SSI, etc.) or income that falls below the poverty line. Additional discounts are also available for those living on Tribal Lands.

Windstream Kinetic Lifeline

A national provider of DSL, fiber and cable internet, Windstream offers discounts on service through FCC Lifeline. Eligible recipients must either be participating in federal assistance or be living below the poverty line, at which point they will receive monthly discounts on either phone or internet service, with additional discounts for anyone living on Tribal Lands.

WOW! Lifeline

Primarily focused in Michigan, Ohio and Illinois, WOW! provides discounts through FCC’S Lifeline on their internet and phone service. Discounts are one per household and require families to be participating in government aid or have income below the 135% poverty level. Benefits include monthly service discounts and waiving of fees on local service like installation.

Xfinity Internet Essentials

Xfinity from Comcast provides cable and fiber internet to customers across the country, with the bulk of their coverage lying in California, Illinois and Florida. Through their Internet Essentials program, eligible families can pay as little as $10 per month for broadband at speeds up to 25 Mbps.

Self-installation options are available, and service installation includes setting up on Xfinity WiFi hotspots. In order to be eligible, you must qualify for public assistance such as SNAP, Medicaid, Housing Assistance or the National School Lunch Program.

Ziply Fiber Lifeline

Ziply Fiber is an internet provider specializing in fiber optic access (but also offering DSL) for the Montana, Oregon and Washington State regions. Ziply offers low income assistance options through the FCC’s Lifeline program, including standard monthly discounts of $9.25 per month as well as enhanced discounts for Tribal Land residents, Tribal Link-Up assistance and state-level telephone assistance programs.

Eligibility depends on your household’s participation in government assistance programs, your status as a former Ziply Fiber customer as well as whether your income level falls at or below the national poverty level of 135%.

Find Internet Providers in Your Area

That are even more providers offering affordable phone and internet service for low income families across the country, either through individual offers or via FCC’s Lifeline initiative. Find a provider near you for special low cost offers for your family’s internet!

Other Ways to Save On Internet Service

If you’re in the situation of not qualifying for any of the assistance listed above, there are other ways to shop smart and avoid spending money you don’t have to in order to get reliable internet for your family.

Most service providers charge you a monthly fee to “rent” their provided modem in addition to the monthly subscription you pay for their internet access. This isn’t a requirement however, and you have the option of using your own modem purchased separately. This is an option that takes a little more effort on your part, in addition to paying in full for a modem up front, but once you do you’re set and you’ll never have to worry about that extra charge on your monthly internet bill.

Staying tuned for promotions is always a smart way to save money as well, waiting until seasonal offers from service providers to get lower monthly rates for a particular period of time, often up to a year. You can also negotiate with a provider for lower rates or, if you’re already subscribed, shop around for service from a new company. This allows you to take advantage of offers from a competitor to leave your current provider, or offers from your current provider if you want to cancel, as they’re often offer deals and lower rates to keep you from unsubscribing.

How to Get Free Wi-Fi At Home

There are even more options for getting high speed internet for your home besides federal assistance and low cost provider options, even allowing you to get free wireless internet for your family.

Solutions such as FreedomPop give you an extremely low cost home 4G LTE network. If you’re a very low data user, FreedomPop gives you plans with data limits of 200 and 500 MB per month literally for free. They also have higher data plans at affordable monthly rates, as well as a selection of used phones to use them (although you can bring your own phone into the plan). This is a great option for phone users who don’t use much data, but not as a home internet solution.

Personal hotspots are a very popular way of creating WiFi networks that multiple devices can use to access the internet. Most modern smartphones can perform this, utilizing the 4G, LTE or 5G data to generate a wireless network that other devices can tap into to go online. There are also individual devices that can do this though, referred to as ‘Mifis’. Despite their declined popularity due to hotspot capabilities of smartphones, some carriers do still offer these devices as a way to easily create a WiFi network using data you already pay for and avoiding additional monthly costs.

Other alternate solutions for home internet exist such as ad-supported internet, which is what the Ohio-based Buckeye Broadband offers through their FreeNet service. This sets you up with a home internet connection of about 2 Mbps at no monthly cost, but users then watch brief advertisements before their service starts. This doesn’t include WiFi although an add-on option is available, but can be a cheaper if less convenient solution for internet at home.

Public Locations You Can Find Free Wi-Fi

If you don’t mind getting out of the house to use the internet, many people use free WiFi available in public locations to get their online activity done at no cost whatsoever. Public libraries will have internet, WiFi and computers to use for free. Free WiFi networks are also available to access through restaurant and coffee shop chains. Places like McDonald’s and Starbucks – which have thousands of convenient locations across the U.S. – run free wireless networks you can use and also have later hours than a public library for you to utilize it. Students will also have access to wireless networks and computers at their respective institutions, whether in high schools, universities, etc.


For more information on programs we’ve laid out here such as FCC’s Lifeline program, nonprofit initiatives or other ways to save on internet, please refer to our resource list:

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