Free Government Internet Service
The days of going to the local library to research information for a school project are long gone. The internet enables us to have a world of knowledge and information at our fingertips, and it connects us to the rest of the world. Communication, education, marketing and ecommerce have never been easier than in today’s life thanks to the internet. When you don’t have access to the internet, it can feel like you are out of touch with life. Due to this, the U.S. government has implemented the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) to ensure that even lower-income households are able to afford an internet service. This program replaces the emergency broadband benefit program. Let’s take a look at what free government internet service is and what your options are.
Who is Eligible?
A household with an income that is at or below 135% of the FPG (federal poverty guidelines) can qualify for free government funded internet. If you are a participant of any one of the assistance programs such as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Medicaid or Lifeline, then you can also qualify to enjoy the free government internet service. You are also eligible to apply if you have been approved to receive benefits from the free and reduced-price school lunch or school breakfast program, if you have received a Federal Pell Grant, if you have experienced substantial income loss or if you meet the eligibility criteria for an existing low-income or COVID-19 program.
How to Apply
Applying for this free service will give you access to all the necessary internet essentials. It’s as simple as gong to the Lifeline website and following two easy steps. First you will click on the apply button, which will tell you within minutes if you qualify to join this program. Then, you will be required to upload the supporting documentation for any of the benefit programs that you are participating in. Once you qualify, you can sign up with one of the participating service providers in your area. For residents of California, Oregon and Texas, you have to check which providers offer this service and apply via their websites or check in with your state’s website for application guidelines.
Depending on where you live in the states, there are a variety of different internet services available, and you may not have the option to choose which one you would like. The four main types of services are: Satellite, DSL, fiber and cable.
Satellite is no longer the most popular service, even though it is more widely available. It is also known to be slower than other services, unreliable and expensive.
Digital subscriber line (DSL) can also be slow depending on your internet needs, but it is known to be more reliable as well as affordable.
Fiber has topped all the above with its super high speeds. However, it has limited availability as well as higher pricing. If you really want the best optimum internet speeds and don’t mind paying more, then fiber is the way to go.
Cable offers a great balance of speed and value.
Service Providers to Consider
Xfinity is a reputable service provider that offers unlimited internet and streaming for $30 per month with no term contract.
AT&T covers a broad range of services, such as wireless networks, digital television, internet, cell phones and land lines. AT&T internet offers free internet services with ACP and has plans of up to 100 megabits per second.
Lifeline and ACP also offers plans through SafeLink with unlimited talk and text. It includes calls to Canada and Mexico with 25-gigabyte high-speed data and a free phone.
Also offering unlimited data with text and talk plans from $49.99 per month, Spectrum is considered to be America’s leading internet provider. There are three packages to choose from, and their smallest package has speeds of up to 300 megabits per second. It boasts 99% network reliability.
Another service provider that offers free talk time, text and data is QLink. It’s eligible for citizens of America through the Lifeline program.
6. Verizon Fios
Verizon Fios offers 100% fiber-optic network for less to those who qualify. It comes with savings of up to $20 per month. The free plan has speeds of up to 300 megabits per second and also offers the Disney bundle free of charge for the first six months. After that, it will cost you $13.99 per month.
7. Century Link
The ACP offers a discount of up to $30 per month through Century Link for eligible households. Those who live on tribal lands can enjoy a discount of $75 per month, but they do limit their free services to one monthly service discount per household.
Cox offers a completely free internet service to eligible households with 100 megabits per second if you select the cheapest package. They do not require a term agreement and even throw in free modem rental.