Are There Programs Available to Help Make Internet Service More Affordable?

There are both government subsidies and low-income internet programs from internet service providers (ISPs) that can help with your internet bill. These inexpensive internet plans, income-based programs, and low-income family plans help reduce the cost of staying connected.

Jump to:

Programs for low-income internet

ProviderProgramWho qualifiesOfferMore info
Altice OptimumAltice Advantage Internet with speeds up to 30 MbpsNew customers with a child recipient of NSLP, seniors eligible for SSI, or veterans receiving public assistance$14.99/mo.Learn more
Altice SuddenlinkAltice Advantage Internet with speeds up to 30 MbpsNew customers with a child recipient of NSLP, seniors eligible for SSI, or veterans receiving public assistance$14.99/mo.Learn more
AT&T*Access program internet with speeds up to 10 MbpsAt least one person in household must participate in SNAP$5.00–$10.00/mo.Learn more
SpectrumInternet Assist with speeds up to 30 Mbps (wireless speeds may vary)New Spectrum customers with at least one recipient of certain public assistance programs in the household$14.99/mo. for 12 mo.Learn more
Comcast XfinityInternet Essentials package with speeds up to 25 MbpsNew Xfinity customers who are eligible for public assistance programs$9.95/mo.Learn more
Cox§Internet up to 50 Mbps through Connect2Compete programNew Cox customers with at least one K–12 student in household who qualifies for public assistance programs$9.95/mo. afterLearn more
Federal
Communication
Commission**
Lifeline discount Households that make less than 135% of federal poverty guideline or have at least one member participating in certain public assistance programs$9.95 off monthly internet or phone bill through certain ISPsLearn more
Federal
Communication
Commission
Enhanced Lifeline benefits for Tribal landsLow-income households on federally recognized Tribal lands$34.95 off monthly internet billLearn more
Mediacom††Internet up to 25 Mbps through Connect2Compete programNew Mediacom customers with at least one K–12 student in household who qualifies for National School Lunch Program$9.95/mo. Learn more
ProviderAltice Optimum
ProgramAltice Advantage Internet with speeds up to 30 Mbps
Who qualifiesNew customers with a child recipient of NSLP, seniors eligible for SSI, or veterans receiving public assistance
Offer$14.99/mo.
More infoLearn more
ProviderAltice Suddenlink
ProgramAltice Advantage Internet with speeds up to 30 Mbps
Who qualifiesNew customers with a child recipient of NSLP, seniors eligible for SSI, or veterans receiving public assistance
Offer$14.99/mo.
More infoLearn more
ProviderAT&T*
ProgramAccess program internet with speeds up to 10 Mbps
Who qualifiesAt least one person in household must participate in SNAP
Offer$5.00–$10.00/mo.
More infoLearn more
ProviderSpectrum
ProgramInternet Assist with speeds up to 30 Mbps (wireless speeds may vary)
Who qualifiesNew Spectrum customers with at least one recipient of certain public assistance programs in the household
Offer$14.99/mo. for 12 mo.
More infoLearn more
ProviderComcast Xfinity
ProgramInternet Essentials package with speeds up to 25 Mbps
Who qualifiesNew Xfinity customers who are eligible for public assistance programs
Offer$9.95/mo.
More infoLearn more
ProviderCox§
ProgramInternet up to 50 Mbps through Connect2Compete program
Who qualifiesNew Cox customers with at least one K–12 student in household who qualifies for public assistance programs
Offer$9.95/mo. after
More infoLearn more
ProviderFederal
Communication
Commission**
ProgramLifeline discount
Who qualifiesHouseholds that make less than 135% of federal poverty guideline or have at least one member participating in certain public assistance programs
Offer$9.95 off monthly internet or phone bill through certain ISPs
More infoLearn more
ProviderFederal
Communication
Commission
ProgramEnhanced Lifeline benefits for Tribal lands
Who qualifiesLow-income households on federally recognized Tribal lands
Offer$34.95 off monthly internet bill
More infoLearn more
ProviderMediacom††
ProgramInternet up to 25 Mbps through Connect2Compete program
Who qualifiesNew Mediacom customers with at least one K–12 student in household who qualifies for National School Lunch Program
Offer$9.95/mo.
More infoLearn more

Are you a student looking for deals on internet service?

Check out our guide to internet service for students.

Government Assistance

Lifeline

Lifeline is a government program backed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). It provides a monthly phone or internet service discount for low-income households.

At the time of writing, Lifeline benefits give eligible subscribers a discount of at least $9.25 per month off either landline phone service, wireless phone service, broadband, or bundled services.

Enhanced Lifeline benefits for Tribal lands bumps the discount up an extra $25 for a total discount of $34.95 per month for households within federally recognized Tribal lands.

How do I qualify for Lifeline?

There are two ways to qualify for Lifeline:

You can qualify through your income. If your income is 135% of the federal poverty guidelines or less, you can qualify for Lifeline assistance. The guidelines vary by household size and the state you live in, but the average federal poverty guideline is generally an annual income of about $34,000 for a family of four.

You can qualify through a government program. If you or someone in your household participates in select federal assistance programs, you may qualify for Lifeline. These are the eligible programs:

  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Veterans Pension and Survivors Benefits
  • Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA)
  • Medicaid
  • Tribal Programs for Native Americans

You can also qualify if a child or dependent in your household participates in one of the listed programs.

How does Lifeline work?

If you qualify, you choose a participating provider in your area and sign up. You’ll have to provide proof of eligibility and renew your Lifeline subscription every year. You can also have only one Lifeline benefit per household, so you have to choose between a phone, internet, or bundled service subsidy.

Several ISPs participate in Lifeline benefits programs. You can find all your options using the Lifeline provider database. But here are a few examples of companies that participate:

ConnectHomeUSA

ConnectHomeUSA began in 2015 as a public-private partnership between the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and other organizations. It’s goal is to narrow the digital divide for families with school-age children in HUD-assisted housing.

The program is currently operating in more than 80 communities in the US, with new communities added every year. Residents of ConnectHomeUSA communities can find resources to help find affordable internet services and devices. And if you don’t live in one of those areas, there are resources for people interested in starting a digital inclusion program in their own community.

Pro tip:

If you need inexpensive or free internet and you don’t qualify for low-income programs, check out our guide to getting free home internet.

Internet service provider programs

Many ISPs also offer their own assistance programs for families with low income or other needs that wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford internet access. If you don’t qualify for Lifeline or prefer to use the benefit for phone service, this can be a great option.

First, find out which providers service your area:

Altice runs both Optimum and Suddenlink, and customers with access to either ISP can sign up for Altice Advantage Internet, which offers internet speeds up to 30 Mbps for $14.99 per month for those who qualify.

The Altice Advantage Internet program is available to those who have a child recipient of the NSLP in the household, receive Supplemental Security Income (age 65+), or are US military veterans who receive public assistance.

Visit the Altice Advantage Internet webpage to see if you qualify and apply.

AT&T’s Access program offers internet speeds up to 10 Mbps to eligible low-income families for $5–$10 per month. To qualify for Access, customers must have at least one family member who participates in the SNAP program.

Visit the Access page to fill out an application and see if you qualify.

Spectrum offers an Internet Assist program similar to Xfinity’s Internet Essentials. Internet Assist offers up to 30 Mbps (wireless speeds may vary) for $14.99 per month for 12 months, with no data cap and no contract. The program is available to households where one member is a recipient of the National School Lunch Program, Community Eligibility Provision of the NSLP, or Supplemental Security Income (≥ age 65 only).

Internet Assist costs $14.99 per month and offers faster speeds than Xfinity Internet Essentials. But the ISP charges an extra $5.00 per month if you want WiFi.

To apply for Spectrum Internet Assist, call Spectrum at 1-855-542-6651.

Xfinity offers an Internet Essentials program that allows qualifying customers to purchase a plan for just $9.95 per month. This program is designed to help students, seniors, and low-income families. It offers internet speeds up to 25 Mbps and free in-home Wi-Fi, and it doesn’t require a credit check.

Xfinity also offers low-cost computers as part of the Internet Essentials program. Customers can choose a laptop or desktop computer for $149, which includes Microsoft Office, Norton Security Suite, and a 90-day warranty.

To get Internet Essentials, customers need to fill out an application and wait to be approved. For a family to qualify, they must have at least one child eligible for the National School Lunch Program and meet a handful of other requirements.

To apply for Xfinity Internet Essentials, visit the Internet Essentials website.

Cox Low-Cost Internet is part of the Connect2Compete program, aimed at helping K–12 students reach their full potential by providing internet access to low-income families. Low-Cost Internet is $9.95 per month and is available to families with at least one child in kindergarten or grades 1–12.

Eligible families must also be participating in one of the following programs:

To apply for Cox Low-Cost Internet, visit the website and fill out the form.

Mediacom’s Connect2Compete program partners with EveryoneOn to offer inexpensive internet for students eligible for the NSLP. The program includes a 25 Mbps internet connection and Wi-Fi modem for $9.95 per month.

Check your eligibility or sign up by calling 1-855-904-2225 or through Mediacom’s Connect2Compete online application.

Author -

Rebecca is a natural techie and the friend you turn to when your Wi-Fi randomly stops working. Since graduating from the University of Evansville with a degree in creative writing, Rebecca has leveraged her tech savvy to write hundreds of data-driven tech product and service reviews. In addition to HighSpeedInternet.com, her work has been featured on Top Ten Reviews, MacSources, Windows Central, Android Central, Best Company, TechnoFAQ and iMore.

Editor - Cara Haynes

Cara Haynes has edited for HighSpeedInternet.com for three years, working with smart writers to revise everything from internet reviews to reports on your state’s favorite Netflix show. She believes no one should feel lost in internet land and that a good internet connection significantly extends your life span (buffering kills). With a degree in English and editing and five years working with online content, it’s safe to say she likes words on the internet. She is most likely to be seen wearing Birkenstocks and hanging out with a bouncy goldendoodle named Dobby, who is a literal fur angel sent to Earth.

Share This