Internet access is vital, but the Federal Communications Commission reports that 19 million Americans lack access to adequate internet speeds.1 With the high cost of plans, many people can’t afford to have internet at home or on their mobile devices. Luckily, this digital divide is something both the government and internet providers are looking to fix. Depending on your financial situation, you could qualify for free internet. Start an online search to see if you meet the criteria.
Here’s how you can score affordable internet with a new discount program.
The Affordable Connectivity Program
The federal government introduced the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) in 2022 to help tens of millions of American households get internet at home. This program provides eligible individuals and families with free internet or a $30 discount on their preferred plan.2
There are 20 providers covering more than 80 percent of the country that have committed to the ACP. Even major companies such as AT&T and Verizon are taking part in this initiative. Internet providers are offering lower priced plans, discounted rates, and even free equipment to limit internet costs as much as possible.
So, who qualifies for the ACP? Households at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level can apply. You can also qualify if a family member participates in one of the following federal programs:
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP);
- Pell Grants;
- Medicaid, and;
- Supplemental Security Income.
Free Internet Options
Applicants who meet are approved can enjoy free internet from any one of a list of major providers across the country. With the affordability initiative, providers are offering an average of 100 Mbps internet for customers, and pricing the plan at $30 or less. Choosing this cheaper plan and utilizing it with the $30 discount will provide you with free high-speed internet access.
Some providers with free internet options include:
- AT&T (Up to 100 Mbps internet).3
- Allo Communications (100 Mbps internet).
- Comporium (100 Mbps x 100 Mbps Fiber internet or 100 x 3 Mbps Cable Modem internet).4
- Frontier (100 Mbps Fiber internet).5
- IdeaTek (Plans up to 100 Mbps available).6
- MLGC (100/20 Mbps internet plan).7
- Verizon (300 Mbps Fios internet).8
- Vermont Telephone Company (Up to 100 Mbps internet).9
- Vexus Fiber.10
- Breezeline (100/10 Mbps internet).11
- WOW! Internet (Internet 100 plan).12
Pay Less for Internet
If a 100 Mbps internet plan isn’t quite going to cut it, you can apply the $30 discount from the program towards other internet plans. This is a good option for people who use the internet more frequently and want higher speeds, connectivity, and download abilities.
For example, Frontier offers three higher speed internet plans in addition to its free plan.13 You can choose the 500 Mbps plan, which usually costs $39.99 per month, and apply your $30 discount. This incentive brings your monthly internet bill down to just $9.99 per month.
Other providers offering better internet plans for less money through this program include:
- Allo Communications
- Altice USA / Optimum (free internet with 100 Mbps plan)
- Cox Communications
- Jackson Energy Authority
- Spectrum (Charter Communications)
Choosing an Internet Plan
Once you’ve qualified for the Affordable Connectivity Program, you can start thinking about which ISP you want to sign up with. Since there are 20 companies nationwide that are taking part in the program, customers have options when choosing a provider. Start narrowing down your search by seeing which providers are available in your area.
From there, consider your budget. Do you want to pay $0 for the internet each month? Then you’ll likely have to choose a plan that has 100 Mbps speeds. If faster internet speeds are a priority, then look into cheaper plans where you can apply the $30 discount. While your high speed plan won’t be free, it will still be significantly cheaper than it would be without the ACP incentive.
Compare Internet Providers and Plans Online
If you’re struggling to pay for the internet, you need to apply for the Affordable Connectivity Program. Eligible individuals or households could end up paying zero dollars for high speed internet services. To find a plan that meets your needs and budget, start a search online to compare what providers have to offer.
You can also learn more about the ACP online. Find out who is eligible for this program and how to sign-up with a quick search. Thanks to this initiative, millions of people will be able to affordably access the internet and all of the services it provides.