10 places to get free wifi at home, for students and low-income families

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Looking for ways to get free wifi at home or in your community? 

In this post, we’ll share 10 ways to get free wifi that benefits students, low-income families, and anyone having trouble affording internet access:

  1. Check with your employer
  2. Check with your child’s school district
  3. Check with your city or county
  4. Government discounts via the Emergency Broadband Benefit for internet service
  5. EveryoneOn
  6. NetZero
  7. Internet Essentials from Comcast
  8. Cox Connect2Compete
  9. Spectrum Internet Assistant Program
  10. Frontier Lifeline Program

Not at home? Read all the get free wifi if you search “near me.”

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1. Check with your employer

Your job might offer free internal wifi for employees or an employee discount on internet services at home. Check with your human resources department to find out what’s available as well as the rules of usage. 

2. Check with your child’s school district

Ask leaders at your child’s school if there is a free or subsidized internet access program. Some school districts might even have a network of free wifi partners.

Nonprofits like EveryoneOn and EducationSuperHighway are working to close the digital divide. For example, EducationSuperHighway’s No Home Left Offline is a privately-funded campaign to help families get free wifi in low-income apartment communities. 

For example, in Clark County, Nevada educators and business leaders collaborated to create Connecting Kids — a successful initiative to connect every child engaging in digital learning in the state to the internet. Programs like this ensure children have the equipment and wifi access they need at home.

3. Check with your city or county

You might have access to a free wifi hotspot near your home. Use the WiFi Map app on your smartphone to locate free wifi spots wherever you go. 

For example, New York City offers free wifi in subway stations, parks, restaurants and tourist areas like Times Square. Through networks like LinkNYC, payphones are being replaced with free public wifi stations that also allow phone calls and phone charging.

Look for free wifi stickers when you are out and about.

4. Government discounts via the Emergency Broadband Benefit for internet service

The Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) is a federal temporary assistance program providing free or discounted internet service to qualified applicants. It offers a monthly discount of up to $50 for eligible subscribers (up to $75 for households on Tribal lands) and a one-time discount of up to $100 to buy a laptop.

Additionally, you can combine the EBB with federal Lifeline Assistance Program benefits to increase savings. Lifeline provides government discounts to qualified subscribers for cell phone, broadband internet, and bundled voice-broadband service.

You can apply for Lifeline using the Lifeline National Verifier. Once qualified, you can contact your current internet provider for direct EBB enrollment. With Lifeline approval, you are already qualified for the EBB. However, if you are not a Lifeline subscriber you can still apply for the EBB.

You may be eligible for the EBB if you meet any of the following conditions:

  • Your household income is at or below 135% of the federal poverty guidelines.
  • You receive Tribal assistance such as Tribal Head Start.
  • You qualify for Lifeline because you receive benefits like SNAP, Medicaid, or SSI.
  • You experienced income from job loss or a layoff since February 2020 and your total household income in 2020 was at or below $99,000 (single filers) or $198,000 (joint filers).
  • You are the current recipient of a Pell Grant.
  • You receive benefits from the free and reduced price lunch or breakfast program.
  • You are eligible for an existing broadband service provider’s low-income or COVID-19 program that is approved by the FCC.

All who receive EBB benefits by December 31, 2021 will still receive them during a 60-day transition period. Eligibility rules for the Affordable Connectivity Program are forthcoming.

Apply for the EBB online or call the National Verifier at 1 (833) 511-0311. Although EBB will be replaced in early 2022 by the Affordable Connectivity Program, a long-term internet affordability program, you can still sign up now. 

There is one EBB per household. There is also one Lifeline benefit per household.

Once approved, you have 90 days to sign up with your preferred, participating Lifeline wireless provider or notify your existing provider. If your existing provider does not participate with the EBB, here is a list of major internet providers that do: 

AT&T

AT&T offers discounted home internet service to low-income households in 21 states. You can choose from limited and unlimited data plans as low as $0 to $20 per month with the EBB benefit in the first year. Plans vary, so check with AT&T for availability and pricing. 

CenturyLink operates in 36 states and offers different internet service plans to match your usage needs. If you are a current subscriber and your EBB benefits do not apply to your existing service, a CenturyLink representative will work with you to find a comparable, participating plan. Check availability to see if CenturyLink is in your state.

Cricket Wireless

You can apply your EBB to any eligible Cricket Wireless service. Cricket Wireless offers a 15 GB mobile hotspot, unlimited high-speed data plans and a 100 GB data only plan. With EBB discounts, you could pay between $5 and $10 per month for service. Enter your zipcode to find your nearest Cricket Wireless store.

HughesNet

HughesNet offers discounted satellite-based internet service to low-income households via the EBB. They offer a range of eligible plans from HughesNet Gen5 10 GB to 50 GB in all contiguous states and Puerto Rico. Use your address to see what’s available from HughesNet in your area.

T-Mobile

T-Mobile delivers 4G and 5G speeds and has different EBB eligible data plans, both monthly and prepaid. Current customers might have to switch data plans to use EBB. This also applies to former Sprint customers and Metro by T-Mobile subscribers. Contact your local T-Mobile store if you have additional questions.

Verizon

Verizon makes internet connectivity possible in low-income homes across the nation. The EBB works with any Fios Mix & Match internet plan, unlimited mobile data plans, 5G Home Internet plans, and LTE Home internet plans. Browse the EBB service offerings at Verizon.  

5. EveryoneOn

EveryoneOn is a nonprofit dedicated to helping families in underserved communities get affordable internet service and computers. The Washington, D.C. based organization has connected over 890,000 people to the internet since 2012 and provided over 5,000 computers. Use your zip code to find low-cost internet and computer offers in your area.

6. NetZero

NetZero offers 10 hours per month of free dial-up home internet service. It also offers accelerated dial-up with Norton AntiVirus protection for $29.95 per month. FYI: NetZero charges $25 per incident for live technical support by telephone. Get started with free internet service with NetZero.

7. Internet Essentials from Comcast

Internet Essentials from Comcast is a discounted service that works with the EBB to provide low-cost monthly service for $9.95 and free internet equipment. If you’re qualified for the EBB, you can get the monthly service for free and enjoy speeds of up to 50/5 Mbps. This service also comes with free access to Xfinity wifi hotspots and offers low-priced computers. Apply for Internet Essentials from Comcast.

Free Comcast Wifi qualifications

To qualify for this discounted Comcast service, you must be qualified for the EBB or:

  • Receive assistance like Medicaid, SNAP, SSI, or the National School Lunch Program
  • Live in a Comcast service area 
  • Not have Comcast internet service in the last 90 days

Apply for our $500 monthly Single Mom Stimulus Grant

How to get free Wifi from Comcast if you have low income

If you have low income, you can get free wifi from Comcast if you are qualified for the EBB. Comcast also offers Lift Zone, a network of free, nationwide wifi-connected community centers for students. Search for Lift Zones in your community.

8. Cox Connect2Compete

A flagship program of EveryoneOn, Connect2Compete works with Cox Communications (and Mediacom) to provide low-income families with K-12 students affordable home internet. Plans are $9.95 per month. Apply for Cox Connect2Compete now.

Free Cox Wifi qualifications

To qualify for Cox Connect2Compete, you household must:

  • Have at least one K-12 student
  • Receive government assistance

How to get free Wifi from Cox if you have low income

To get free wifi, you must be qualified for the EBB and choose a plan that is less than the benefit. For example, if your EBB is $50 per month and you sign up for a $29.99 plan, you don't pay for service. Check Cox’s current plan offerings. 

9. Spectrum Internet Assistant Program

Spectrum offers a low-price option called Spectrum Internet Assist. You’ll get contract-free service that includes a modem for high-speed internet at 30 Mbps. You can also add on in-home wifi for $5 per month. This program is only for new internet subscribers. Use your address to see what’s available in your community.

Free Spectrum Wifi qualifications

To be eligible for Spectrum Internet Assist, one or more members of your family must receive assistance from:

  •  National School Lunch Program (NLSP)
  • Community Eligibility Provision of the NLSP
  • SSI (applies to those 65 and older)

How to get free Wifi from Spectrum if you have low income

If you are in a low-income household, you can get free wifi from Spectrum as a recipient of the EBB. As long as the benefit is greater than the service plan, you will not have to pay the monthly fee. Spectrum customers also get free, unlimited access to Spectrum Out-of-Home WiFi. Check the coverage map now. 

10. Frontier Lifeline Program

The Frontier Lifeline Program is offered in 29 states and provides discounts to qualifying Frontier internet services to low-income subscribers. Frontier internet service includes a wifi router. Check Frontier plan availability in your area.

Free Frontier Wifi qualifications

In general, applicants must receive government assistance to be eligible for this service. Yet, each state Frontier serves has different qualification requirements. Choose your state to view eligibility requirements. 

How to get free Wifi from Frontier if you have low income

You can apply your Lifeline benefit to standalone internet service. Frontier also participates with EBB, so you are likely to get free wifi service by combining benefits. plicants. Contact Frontier to learn which plans are eligible for Lifeline and EBB.

Not at home? Searching for free wifi “near me?”

If you are not at home and looking for places other connected you can use a tool like NordVPN. It’s a great resource on public wifi networks because it gives you a secure, encrypted connection to protect your data from hackers. You can get a monthly plan for $11.95 or an annual plan for $143.40. Shop NordVPN plans now.

Find free WiFi hotspots “near me”

The WiFi Map is essential for finding free wifi when you are on the go. You can use it as an app or try the desktop version. You can also use Open WiFi Spots to find public wifi networks.

Libraries

Public libraries are excellent resources. They offer free wifi as well as internet-connected computers. For example, the Palm Springs, California public library provides free wifi inside or in designated areas in the parking lot. Find a library near you with World Cat.

McDonald’s

McDonald’s wifi is powerful enough that two can use it just sitting in the parking lot. But, if you go in, you can get a quick, cheap bite while you work or surf the internet. Find a McDonald’s near you. 

Starbucks

Starbucks is a solid place to get free wifi. The cafes tend to be small, so seating may be limited. Starbucks requires an email signup the first time you use the public wifi, but you can unsubscribe from the email newsletter at any time. Find a Starbucks near you.

Need more resources? Here is our guide to Help for single moms, including:

9 places to get a free smartphone and wireless service

How to get a free laptop

21 scholarships for single moms

Ways to make money online for beginners

Best highly paid jobs moms can do from home

7 business ideas

How to make money fast

Robyn Evans is an award-winning writer, inspirational author, and occasional songstress (especially in the shower). Born and raised in Baltimore, she focused on helping women make healthy choices for body, mind and soul. She’s a grateful bonus mom to a photographer son and activist daughter and works with young writers through a nonprofit organization. Robyn writes for corporate clients, is a former feature writer for The Carroll County Times, has written for The Baltimore Sun and is the author of three books. Learn more about Robyn here.

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