Who Has Internet for $10 a Month?

Glowing green wifi signal on a black background.

When looking for cheaper internet, you might wonder who has internet for $10 a month. Whether you’re working from home or your children are attending school virtually, you need a strong, reliable internet connection. However, as months go by, paying for that connection adds up. 

It’s common for households to bundle cable, internet and phone to save money. Some people find that cable is no longer necessary with streaming services taking over the media industry. With services like HBO Max, Netflix, Hulu and the Disney+ Bundle available, more and more people are deciding to cut the cord. Regardless of what you have in your home, the last thing you want is to overpay for internet access.

Finding ways to save on your Wi-Fi plan is challenging. Internet service providers (ISPs) can be rigid regarding their pricing. As a result, some users switch providers if the price becomes too high. However, because it’s cheaper for ISPs to retain a customer, they may be willing to negotiate a fair price with you in return for your loyalty.

It’s hard to imagine living without Wi-Fi because of financial reasons. Luckily, there are alternatives available to those struggling to pay their bills. ISPs and government assistance programs offer discounted services for low-income families. It’s crucial to have access to the internet in your home, and these options will help you find the cheaper Wi-Fi service you need.

So who has internet for $10 a month? Believe it or not, many options are available. Let’s dive into the relationship between low-income families and Wi-Fi usage. We’ll also cover providers and programs that offer inexpensive connections.

Income Gaps in Home Wi-Fi in the U.S.

Household income is an important factor in determining how many people use broadband internet. Wi-Fi is a must-have in many households but is heavily dependent on income.

Location, age and race are demographics that also play a role in whether or not families have Wi-Fi in their houses. Research shows that racial minorities and those with lower incomes are less likely to have a home internet connection

About 86% of families with an income at or less than $30,000 have Wi-Fi. For context, compare that to the 99% of families with an income of $75,000 or more with a home connection. This gap shows that having Wi-Fi is mainly dependent on how much you can spend monthly on your bill.

Rather than have no internet access at all, low-income families can apply for assistance so they can receive the most affordable plan options. Some programs depend on your location and the providers available in your region.

How Much Does the Average American Pay for Internet?

Before we launch into ways to reduce your internet bill, how much are most Americans paying for Internet? We wanted to find out, so we surveyed 1500 Americans on how much they were paying for Internet. We found out that a whopping 1 in 4 Americans are paying between $60 and $80 a month for Internet, while over half of all Americans are paying between $40 and $80. Only 9.09% of Americans are paying under $20.

Clearly Americans are paying some hefty fees for Wi-Fi. But if you find these statistics discouraging, don’t worry. We have some tips to help you reduce your bills.

FCC Programs for Low-Income or Fixed Income Households  

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) offers two programs that low-income families can take advantage of in order to save on monthly internet costs. 

The FCC Lifeline program has been helping families across the country since 1985, whereas the Emergency Broadband Benefit program was established in 2021 to help families who were, and continue to be, negatively affected by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The FCC Lifeline Program

Internet plan prices vary from state to state, but the standard falls in the range of $50-$100. If you multiply that by 12 months, you could be paying over $1,200 a year to have access.

The FCC Lifeline Program is available to citizens in every state, commonwealth and territory. People who have an income that is at or below 135% of the federal poverty guidelines are eligible to receive this discount. In addition, if a family participates in other federal assistance programs, they may be eligible.

Those eligible pay $9.95 per month for a broadband internet connection. The Universal Service Administrative Co. (USAC) partnered with the FCC to provide the Lifeline Program to assist people with their applications. 

Many low-income families can benefit from applying for this lifeline discount and can save significant costs if approved. Similar to the Lifeline program, internet providers offer discounts for those that qualify.

Emergency Broadband Benefit Program

The federal government included a program within their COVID-19 relief legislation to offer discounts for eligible families who were negatively impacted by the pandemic. 

Families looking to save on internet costs can use three methods to take advantage of the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program:

  • Contact a participating broadband provider and ask about their application process.
  • Visit GetEmergencyBroadband.org to apply and find providers in your area.
  • Call 833-511-0311 for a mail-in application or print the application online.

Applications can be sent to:

Emergency Broadband Support Center, P.O. Box 7081, London, KY 40742

Here are some of the eligibility requirements needed to apply and get approved for this program. The FCC requires families to meet at least one of these criteria:

  • Your income is less than or equal to 135% of the federal poverty guidelines.
  • You participate in federal assistance programs like SNAP, Lifeline or Medicaid.
  • You qualify for the National School Lunch Program (NSLP).
  • You’ve received a Federal Pell Grant for the current school year.
  • Your income in 2020 was at or below $99,000 (single filers), and $198,000 (joint filers) as a result of income loss from a job loss or furlough
  • You qualify for your internet provider’s existing low-income or COVID-19 program.

These two programs are worth looking into if you find yourself meeting these criteria. It can save you and your family on internet bills, which can be overwhelming if money is tight. 

Companies With $10 Internet

In addition to the Lifeline program, many providers offer reduced prices for those who meet their requirements. Low-income internet providers are great options for families looking to save on internet costs if the bills begin to pile up.

Here are the best low-income internet providers:

AT&T Access$10/mo.Up to 25 Mbps
Spectrum Internet Assist$5/mo.30 Mbps
Comcast Xfinity Internet Essentials$9.95/mo.50 Mbps
Cox Connect2Compete$9.95/mo.50 Mbps
Mediacom Connect2Compete$9.95/mo.Up to 25 Mbps
Altice Advantage Internet$9.99/mo.Up to 30 Mbps
Providers with internet for $10/month or less for low-income houses.

AT&T Access — $10 per month

AT&T offers eligible members with low-income free installation, no annual contract and no deposit with its Access plan. 

Depending on location, eligible members can receive a connection with speeds up to 25 Mbps. Additionally, Access from AT&T is waiving home internet data overage fees for its customers. 

To determine eligibility, families must be enrolled in one of the following programs:

  • SNAP
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for California residents only
  • Income less than or equal to federal poverty guidelines
  • National School Lunch and Head Start Programs (Temporary)

Spectrum Internet Assist — $5 per month

Spectrum provides a free modem, high-speed internet at 30 Mbps, no data caps, and no contracts. Speeds may vary, and their in-home Wi-Fi service is optional.

Here are eligibility requirements for Spectrum Internet Assist:

  • National School Lunch Program (NSLP)
  • Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) of the NSLP
  • Supplemental Security Income (for applicants age 65+ only)

Comcast Xfinity Internet Essentials — $9.95 per month

Xfinity’s program gives customers 50 Mbps in download speed and 5 Mbps in upload speed, free activation and an option to purchase a computer for $149.99 plus tax. 

To qualify for Internet Essentials, you must:

  • Be eligible for federal assistance programs like SNAP, NSLP, Medicaid, Housing Assistance, SSI and others
  • Live in an area where Comcast participates
  • Not be an existing Comcast customer and have not subscribed to a Comcast plan in the last 90 days
  • Not have any outstanding debt to Comcast

Due to the pandemic, Comcast customers who want access to low-income internet but have outstanding debt may still be eligible for it. 

Cox Connect2Compete — $9.95 per month

Through the Connect2Compete program, Cox offers a free modem and no activation fees or contracts. Download speeds are 50 Mbps, and upload speeds are 3 Mbps for eligible customers. 

To qualify for Connect2Compete, your household must have at least one K-12 student and you need to be utilizing at least one federal assistance program. Applicants may need to provide documentation to get approved.

Mediacom Connect2Compete — $9.95 per month

Mediacom also participates in the Connect2Compete program, offering eligible users free activation and hardware for their Wi-Fi connection. In addition, there are no contracts, deposits or installation fees. 

Below are the eligibility requirements for Mediacom’s Connect2Compete plan:

  • Mediacom must be available in your region
  • You have one K-12 student living at home
  • At least one child that qualifies for the NSLP
  • You are not an existing Mediacom customer and have not subscribed in the past 90 days
  • You do not have outstanding debt with Mediacom or any unreturned internet equipment

Altice Advantage Internet — $9.99 per month

Altice offers a starting price of $14.99 for eligible customers but will cut $5 off the bill when users sign up for auto-pay during enrollment. Similarly, Altice provides discounted installation, free smart routers and modems, and internet access up to 30 Mbps. 

Altice offers low-income internet for students, seniors and veterans. Below is more information about Altice’s eligibility requirements:

  • Students: Must qualify for the NSLP or be a NYC resident attending a NYC public school
  • Seniors: 65 years or older and you qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Veterans: Must be a veteran and receive state or federal assistance

All groups must be in a location where Altice participates and must not have any outstanding debt with Altice.

Many providers are aware that low-income families need internet access. These options are feasible solutions for families and individuals who need the support.

Affordable Internet Access for Different Types of Users

People use the internet for a myriad of reasons, but most commonly, and seen throughout 2020 and 2021, students need access to a reliable internet connection in order to complete schoolwork and attend virtual classes. 

It’s crucial for students to be connected to valuable online resources to enrich their learning and excel in their academics. Several ISPs offer discounted rates for the following groups of internet users.

Free Internet for K-12 Students

Families with school-aged children or parents who double as educators can reap the benefits that some ISPs provide. Participating in one of the programs listed below will qualify you to take advantage of these discounts:

  • National School Lunch Program (NSLP)
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
  • Public Housing (HUD)

Internet for Seniors

Unfortunately, it’s uncommon for ISPs to offer discounted rates for senior citizens, but Comcast offers an Internet Essentials plan for eligible seniors at $9.95 per month. It’s also possible that local ISPs offer discounts, so some seniors may want to explore that option.

Free Internet for College Students

While it would be nice for college students to access free internet, there’s yet to be an option for that. However, Spectrum offers new members a free 60 days of internet access to college students. Comcast Internet Essentials also offers low-cost internet service for college students and Verizon Wireless has some options for college students.

Keep all of these options in mind and review the eligibility requirements in order to qualify for these various programs.

Affordable Wi-Fi in Your Home

Wi-Fi is necessary to have in a household — an internet connection allows people to speak with family and friends, complete school assignments, work from home and more. 

Consider applying for the programs mentioned above. These $10 per month — or less — internet services could be exactly what you need. They could provide you with inexpensive or free Wi-Fi and help save you money to use for other life necessities.