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Low Income Internet Plans for Families, Seniors, and Students

Your income bracket doesn’t have to limit your ability to access the internet. If your home needs a boost to cross the digital divide, take advantage of low-income internet options in your area.

Your Low-Income Internet Options

Affordable internet services are available through two primary options:

  • First, there are a variety of internet provider initiatives with discounted monthly rates that low-income families can usually access if their kids qualify for the National School Lunch Program (NSLP). Find out how to apply through an Internet Service Provider.
  • The second option is a government assistance program called Lifeline, which offers $9.25 per month off either internet or phone services to low-income households. Contact your Internet Service Provider (ISP) to enroll in Lifeline through it.

Internet Provider Initiatives vs. Lifeline Assistance

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ProviderDiscounted Provider PriceLowest Price with Lifeline Assistance

Data effective 11/05/2018. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change. 

At first glance, ISP low-income plans are the best deal, but not all homes qualify. Find out if you meet the requirements before you decide which option to go with.

CTV Tip: If you share internet service with other low-income households or you live on tribal lands, Lifeline can be an even better option because you’ll get extra discounts. Additionally, most provider initiatives don’t offer high-speed internet (25 Mbps or higher), which you can get with Lifeline assistance.

Find an Internet Service Provider.

You’ll need to know which ISPs offer service in your neighborhood before you pick the one you want. Enter your zip code below to find what’s available near you:

Please enter a valid zip code.

Understanding Provider Low-Income Initiatives

If you have kids in K–12 . . .

Independent from Lifeline, various providers offer low-cost internet. Many of these programs focus on connecting students to valuable online resources, so they require that you have a school-age child at home. You’ll also need to participate in NSLP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), or Public Housing (HUD).

Each provider has a unique list of qualifying programs, so check our summary below to see what they’re looking for.

If you don’t have kids in K–12 . . .

If you don’t have any school-age children, there are other ways to qualify. The Spectrum Internet Assist program and Internet Essentials from Comcast work for low-income homes without K–12 children.

Anyone with Supplemental Security Income (SSI) can qualify for Spectrum Internet Assist. And Internet Essentials from Comcast is one of the widest-reaching programs because it extends its offer to veterans, seniors, and community college students who receive government assistance.

Important Note: While government assistance is the main requirement to qualify for these low-price plans, you may also need to be a new customer and have no outstanding bills with the provider.

Summary of Provider Initiatives for Low-Income Homes

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Provider Low-Income InitiativeMax Download SpeedIntroductory PriceQualifying ProgramsHow to Get It
AT&T Access*10 Mbps$10.00/mo.SNAPApply
Cox Connect2Compete*15 Mbps$9.95/mo.





Mediacom Connect-2-Compete*10 Mbps$9.95/mo.NSLPApply
Spectrum Internet Assist30 Mbps$14.99/mo.



Internet Essentials from Comcast (Xfinity)15 Mbps$9.95/mo.



Veteran government assistance

Senior government assistance

Pell Grant


Data effective 11/05/2018. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
*Home must have a student in K-12 to qualify.

The shortcoming of these assistance programs is the low download speeds. Only Spectrum Internet Assist meets the FCC requirements of 25 Mbps for broadband (high-speed) internet. Checking email or doing research with Google will be easy with 10 Mbps, but on those lower speeds you may notice slowness when streaming video or using internet on multiple devices at once.

Understanding Lifeline Assistance

Lifeline is here to help you with internet costs if you are near or below the federal poverty guidelines, take part in federal assistance programs, or live on tribal lands. It’s a government-sponsored program that works directly with internet providers to create lower monthly rates for low-income households.

Lifeline Discounts Summary

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How to Qualify for Lifeline

Discount on Internet or Phone

Your household income is less than or equal to 135% of the federal poverty guidelines.$9.25/mo.
You participate in federal assistance programs.$9.25/mo.
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Additional Lifeline Discounts

Discount on Internet or Phone

You qualify for Lifeline and live on tribal lands.$20.00/mo. in addition to the $9.25/mo. discount
You qualify for Lifeline and share internet with other qualifying households.$9.25/mo. per qualifying household in addition to the $9.25/mo. discount

If you live with other people but don’t share money, you can take advantage of Lifeline multiple times on your internet subscription. The people you live with also need to qualify based on poverty guidelines or federal assistance programs, but as long as they aren’t considered part of your household by Lifeline rules, you can stack up the discounts to get cheaper internet.

Wondering what the starting Lifeline discount looks like with different providers? Let’s take a look.

Lifeline Discounts on Cheapest Internet Packages

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ProviderCheapest Package SpeedIntroductory PriceIntroductory Price w/ Lifeline Assistance
AT&T5 Mbps$40.00/mo.$30.75/mo.
CenturyLink20 Mbps$45.00/mo.$35.75/mo.
Cox10 Mbps$29.99/mo.$20.74/mo.
Frontier6 Mbps$20.00/mo.$10.75/mo.
Mediacom60 Mbps$49.99/mo.$40.74/mo.
RCN25 Mbps$24.99/mo.$15.74/mo.
Spectrum100 Mbps$44.00/mo.$35.74/mo.
Xfinity15 Mbps$29.99/mo.$20.74/mo.

Data effective 11/05/2018. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change. 

You’ve probably noticed the final prices after Lifeline assistance are higher than those from ISP low-income programs. But don’t write Lifeline off—it’s a big help when providers in your area don’t offer their own initiatives. Lifeline makes internet accessible across the country, so it’s always an option if you qualify.

Not sure which of these providers are available where you are? Enter your zip code to see your options:

Please enter a valid zip code.

Internet is too good to miss out on.

The internet plays a huge role in our daily life—from news to education to keeping in touch with your loved ones. With help from Lifeline and ISP initiatives, we can all stay connected. Take advantage of these programs to get internet at a price that works for your family.

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