How to Get Free Government Internet for Low Income

The internet is an essential component of modern-day communication systems. It allows people to stay connected to the rest of the world by communicating through various social media networks such as Facebook, Telegram, WhatsApp, and Twitter, among others. Also, there are millions of people in the world that work using the internet. Most people working at home or in offices require the internet to execute their tasks. Since not everyone can access the internet, we will look at how you can get free government internet for low income.

Low-income families are the ones that struggle to access basic things such as food, clothing, and shelter. Such people still need to connect to the rest of the world and stay updated on what is happening. Also, if given an affordable internet, they can use it to reduce poverty as they can get jobs to work using the internet.

They can also explore new opportunities since job search has completely shifted online. One exciting thing about the internet is that it has helped transform the world into a global village. Nowadays, you can wake up with live news from Australia while sitting in your room in America.

You can also communicate directly with someone far away from your place through the internet. You do not need to travel to a far country to work with them since you can execute the mission right from your house using a computer and an internet connection.

How to get free government internet for low income

There are two main ways you can get free internet from the government. These include;

  • Lifeline
  • Affordable Connectivity Program

Let us look at each of them and see how you can get free internet.

i) Lifeline

Lifeline is a benefit program in the United States that provides discounts to qualifying low-income consumers on phone service to ensure that all Americans get the opportunities and security that phone service brings. These include connecting to family, jobs, and emergency services. It is part of the Universal Service Fund. It is available to eligible low-income consumers in every state, commonwealth, territory, and Tribal land.

The program’s administration is done by the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC), which is responsible for data collection, support calculation, maintenance, and disbursement for the low-income program. The government works with various service providers to offer services to eligible families.

Lifeline provides up to a $9.25 discount per month to eligible low-income subscribers and up to $34.25 monthly for those on Tribal lands through their service providers. The service providers can then offer the beneficiaries a certain amount of data, minutes, and texts.

You may choose your favorite plan and have the discount applied depending on your service provider’s terms and conditions. Subscribers can receive a Lifeline discount on either wireless or wireline service. However, beneficiaries cannot receive a discount on both services simultaneously.

How to qualify for Lifeline

There are various ways you can qualify for the program. Usually, most beneficiaries qualify by income, whereby you may qualify for the Lifeline program if you have a gross household income of 135% or below the Federal Poverty Guidelines. You may also qualify if you participate in various benefit programs, including the following.

  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
  • Medicaid
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA)
  • Veterans and Survivors Pension Benefit

Additionally, consumers residing on Tribal lands may qualify for Lifeline through the following Tribally-administered programs.

  • Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance
  • Tribally-Administered Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF)
  • Tribal Head Start. The Head Start Program eligibility applies to those households that have already attained the income-qualifying standard.
  • Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR)

I have mentioned household several times, and you might be confused about it and wondering what it is. When referring to the Lifeline program, a household includes anyone living at the same address and sharing income and household expenses.

Therefore, friends living in the same house or college students living in one room form a household. Family members living together also form a household. Only one Lifeline benefit is permitted per household.

How to apply for Lifeline

You can only benefit from the free internet, minutes, and texts if you apply. You can apply for the program on the USAC’s website and choose your service provider.

To apply, you must first qualify for the program. After qualifying, you can choose an internet company offering the Lifeline benefit and sign up for service with them. Also, suppose your current service provider company offers Lifeline services. In that case, you can request them to offer you the services once you qualify.

 ii) Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP)

You can also get free government internet through the Affordable Connectivity Program. The Affordable Connectivity Program is a benefit program from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that helps to ensure that households can get the broadband they need for various activities such as school, work, healthcare, and much more.

The benefit offers a discount of at least $30 monthly for internet service for eligible households and at most $75 per month for households on eligible Tribal lands. Qualifying households can get a one-time discount of at most $100 to buy a gadget such as a desktop computer, laptop, or tablet from participating providers.

One can get a discount if they contribute at least $10 and less than $50 for the purchase price. Only one person per household can benefit from the Affordable Connectivity Program per month. Again, only one device discount is allowed per household.

Who can apply for the Affordable Connectivity Program

You must qualify for the affordable connectivity program to be able to apply for the services. 

A household qualifies for the Affordable Connectivity Program if the gross household income is at 200% or below the Federal Poverty Guidelines. That is a bit higher than Lifeline, which requires a household to have at most 135% gross household income. That means more beneficiaries can get the ACP services compared to Lifeline.

You can also qualify if you or a member of your household meets any of the criteria below:

  • Received a Federal Pell Grant within the current award year;
  • Meets the eligibility guidelines for an ACP service provider’s current low-income internet program;

Furthermore, you can qualify for the program if you or a member of your household participates in any of the following assistance programs:

  • Medicaid
  • The National School Lunch Program
  • School Breakfast Program
  • WIC
  • Federal Public Housing Assistance
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Veterans Pension or Survivor Benefits
  • Lifeline

Another way someone may qualify for the service is through participation in any of the following assistance programs and living on qualifying Tribal lands:

  • Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance
  • Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations
  • Tribal Head Start (income-based)
  • Tribal TANF

How to apply for the ACP program

You can apply for the Affordable Connectivity Program through your service provider. Interestingly, you can combine the ACP services with Lifeline since no law prohibits beneficiaries from getting the two services simultaneously. Before applying, you must qualify for the program. You can get your qualification ID from the National Verifier by submitting your documents for verification.

Alternatively, you can go to Affordable Connectivity to apply. You can also print out a mail-in application and then contact your preferred service provider as long as they participate in the service delivery and select a plan to have the discount applied to your bill.

How else can you get free internet

There are other ways you can get free internet other than through the government benefits program. They include the following.

1) Non-governmental organizations

There are non-governmental organizations that offer free government internet and laptop to low-income families. You only need to show proof that you require help to get free internet. For example, PCs for People offers free internet with the Affordable Connectivity Program. The company also has low-cost internet that most people can afford and also offers free computers to needy people.

Another non-governmental organization that offers free internet service is EveryoneOn. The organization helps unlock social and economic opportunities by linking people in underserved communities to cheap internet service.

2) Attend a college

Most colleges nowadays offer free internet to their students. They have numerous hotspots where you can connect your computer, smartphone, or tablet to the internet for various online activities. Suppose you are a child from a low-income household. In that case, you can easily access internet services in such institutions.

3) Visit a public library

We have numerous libraries in major towns with free internet access. You can find free WiFi to connect to your smartphone, laptop, or tablet. You can also find ethernet ports where you can connect your computer to access internet services.

4) Take advantage of promotions by service providers

Network service providers such as Verizon, T-Mobile, and Verizon, among others, usually have offers on various plans and you might be lucky to benefit from the offers. You can take advantage of such free plans to enjoy free internet connections.

Bottom line

The Internet allows devices such as computers, tablets, and smartphones to communicate. You can easily communicate with someone far away in another country while sitting on your couch via a computer or smartphone connected to the internet.

You can use the internet to work, study, communicate with others, or entertain yourself by watching movies or playing games. Since not everyone can access internet services, the federal government offers free internet to the needy.