Getting cheap internet service is a priority for many Americans, as most devices require a stable Wi-Fi connection to function. Additionally, they may want to find cheap internet service without a phone line because most citizens rely on their cell phones rather than a landline these days. When low-income households are searching for government-sponsored discounts to assist with household expenses, discount internet and/or cable is a must. 

Luckily, there are some programs offered by the top providers that give high-speed internet to low-income households at a reduced rate. Since these cheap internet service providers understand how important having a reliable internet connection can be for maintaining job security and a comfortable standard of living, they have various discounted plans available to families, seniors, students and other vulnerable populations.

While cheap high-speed internet service may seem like an unattainable luxury for many families and individuals, almost every well-known servicer offers discounts to qualifying customers. However, customers must ask to be considered for the cheap cable and/or internet rate outright. To learn how to obtain cheap cable TV and internet services, review the following sections.

Who can get discounted high-speed internet services?

The eligibility requirements for cheap cable and internet offers vary for each provider, but similar income and participation rules apply for all offers. For example, Spectrum Internet Assist, Spectrum’s version of cheap cable TV for low-income adults and families, requires recipients to be enrolled in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) for free or discounted lunches, the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) or Supplemental Security Income. Therefore, only families or individuals that meet the eligibility requirements for those programs are eligible for discounted internet via Spectrum.

Other cheap cable and internet packages, like the ones offered by COX and AT&T, reduce internet rates for customers already enrolled in the Lifeline Program for free government phone service. Though, some Internet Service Providers (ISPs) mandate that Lifeline participants choose either phone or internet services – not both. 

Please note: Some providers may need you to be a new customer or to have settled all your outstanding debt with the company before becoming eligible for a low-cost plan. Also, most providers will have detailed contracts or agreements explaining your responsibilities as a recipient of the discounted services, which may include reporting any income changes to the provider in a timely manner. Be sure to check with your preferred provider before agreeing to any services to avoid unexpected charges or rate increases. 

What are my cheap cable options?

Depending on your cheap cable and WiFi needs, you have the choice of nearly any internet provider that services your area. Not all internet service is the same and can be installed in every location, so check with the provider to ensure your residential address is within their service limits. Plus, high-speed internet service may not be available in more rural locations or areas with weaker signals. Remember to talk with your service provider and discuss your cable and internet preferences prior to installation. 

Your options are further limited by the providers’ discount offers. Whereas some companies have their own initiatives for low-income homes, others rely on the Lifeline Program to fund their discount offers. The following cheap cable companies only supply discounts through the Lifeline Program:

  • CenturyLink
  • Frontier
  • RCN

These companies offer their own discounted provider programs as well as discounts through the Lifeline Program:

  • Xfinity
  • Spectrum
  • Mediacom
  • COX
  • AT&T

How to Find Cheap Internet Service

If you are interested in reducing your monthly cable and internet costs and believe you may qualify for a low-income discount through either a provider initiative or the Lifeline Program, then you should begin searching for a reliable provider. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has a useful tool that enables you to search by an address, area or provider to determine which provider would give you the best broadband connection. However, you may also visit internet service providers’ websites and search for your ZIP code to see if they service your area. 

You can negotiate cheap cable service rates online or by phone with the provider directly, but be sure to compare rates from other providers as you do so. According to most providers’ sites, internet service providers’ low-income plans are cheaper than the plans through the Lifeline Program.