High-speed Internet (broadband) access is critical for succeeding in the 21st century. Whether the goal is to find a job or learn new skills, Californians with low incomes can benefit from having broadband at home. Click here to view a list of affordable broadband offers in California as of March 2017 and read below about affordable options from Frontier, AT&T, Comcast, Mobile Citizen, and Charter.
Choosing an Affordable High-Speed Internet Provider
Choosing an affordable high-speed Internet provider requires a number of decisions and calculations. Not all Internet Service Providers are available in all regions of California. In fact, most areas are covered by only a few providers. The information below is a step-by-step guide to finding affordable offers.
- The first step is to go to EveryoneOn.org, AllConnect.com, and Mobile Citizen—please check all three!—and put in your home address and/or zip code.
- Next, determine which Internet Service Provider serves your location and review the offers in your area to comparison shop.
- Please note that every household uses the Internet differently. If you only send email and do basic research online, you will need a low data usage plan. If you plan to stream movies, play videos games, or having multiple people using multiple devices simultaneously, you will need a higher data usage plan.
- Learn how to manage your family’s data usage, secure your privacy and identity online, and protect your children online at Common Sense Media and the Federal Trade Commission.
1. What is Frontier’s Affordable Broadband Offer?
Frontier is offering an affordable broadband (Internet) rate of $13.99 per month to new or existing customers who have Frontier Lifeline landline service. For new customers the total cost of affordable landline service and broadband service will range between the total cost of $17.65 for the basic calling plan and $20.83 for unlimited calling.
2. Who is Qualified For Frontier’s Affordable Broadband Rate?
To qualify for the affordable offer you must first qualify for the Frontier Lifeline landline service by meeting income requirements or qualifying by being enrolled in an eligible government program like medical, CalFresh, National School Lunch Program and others. To qualify for the computing device they must live in a household that has not subscribed to Internet at home before or within the last six months and go through an approved Community Based Organization (CBO) to obtain service.
To find out if you are eligible for Lifeline: go to https:///www.californialifeline.com, which will direct you to a list of qualification criteria. To find out if there is Frontier service at your address: Check http://www.cabletv.com for the providers available in your zip code.
3. What Does the Frontier Affordable Broadband Offer Include?
The offer includes (and requires) customers to have Frontier Lifeline landline phone service. The offer includes:
- Free installation and a modem with a router for Wi-Fi in your home.
- Connect other devices to the service at no charge.
- A free Chromebook computer if working with an approved CBO.
- Speeds up to 7Mbps down with no data cap.
4. What Happens After Customers Apply?
Frontier will sign-up customers at market rate prices until his or her Lifeline authorization goes through. When Lifeline is approved, Frontier will apply a credit that will apply retroactively lower the charges on the first bill and each bill going forward. Your first bill will be high unless you request a payment plan, for which there is no charge. That way, you can pay a third of the first bill. You will need to complete the application for Lifeline immediately, so the credit is applied to your bill before the second bill is issued.
5. How does the customer complete the Lifeline process?
After you subscribe to the affordable broadband service, Frontier will request the Lifeline application be sent to you. You will receive a PINK envelop with a PIN code so that you can submit the application online with documentation requested. You may also mail this application with documentation requested. Bring that envelope into the CBO office to help complete process quickly online and avoid a second bill with market rate charges.
6. When Do You Receive Your Chromebook?
You must work with an approved CBO to obtain affordable Internet service and receive a free Chromebook. If you are subscribing to Frontier broadband service through the CBO then Frontier will mail you the Chromebook after the Internet is installed in your home. If you are not subscribing to Frontier broadband you must work with an approved CBO to obtain affordable Internet service and it will provide the Chromebook.
Call 1.866.456.5650 to be connected to the approved CBO nearest to you that can provide more assistance.
1. What is Access from AT&T?
Access from AT&T is a program to provide low-cost home Internet service to qualifying households that includes Wi-Fi at no charge. The Access program is a four year program that began on April 22nd, 2016.
AT&T will assign the highest of three speed tiers available at the applicant’s address. Please find the speed tiers currently available below.
i. $10/month at 10mbps speed for 150 GB of data
ii. $10/month at 5mbps speed for 250 GB of data
iii. $5/month at 3mbps speed for 250 GB of data
If customers exceed their data allowance which is very high, AT&T will charge $10 for each 50GB of data used in excess, even if you do not use all 50GB. Data does not rollover into the next bill cycle.
2. Who Qualifies for the Affordable Broadband Rate?
Anyone who is enrolled in the CalFresh program or receives SSI benefits qualifies for the AT&T Access Program.
3. What Does the AT&T Affordable Internet Offer Include?
There is a credit check but the company will not deny service based on it, no contract, or no installation fee. The offer includes a router so you can have Wi-Fi in your home and connect other devices to the Internet at no additional charge. There is a data cap; however, it would be unusual to exceed it.
4. How Can I Apply for the Access AT&T Program?
There are several different ways to apply for the program. Before you start the application, check your address to make sure the service is available. To apply, please choose one of the options below:
- You can apply for the program online: https://www.att.com/shop/Internet/access/index.html#/. In order to do this, you will need to have a copy of your CalFresh card to upload as proof of eligibility.
- You can call the Access program directly and they will mail an application to you.
- You can start an application online and select to print it to finish at home.
- You CANNOT apply for the Access program at an AT&T store or retailer.
5. Is the process different if CalFresh card is or is not in the applicant’s name?
If the person applying has a CalFresh card in their name, select “Yes” and skip the step below. If the card holder’s name is different than the applicant’s name, select “no” and enter the information below:
- Card holder’s legal full-name and date of birth.
- One of the following: last 4 digits of the card holder’s Social Security, Tribal ID, or Taxpayer Identification Number
- Once you have entered the card holder’s information, you will need to enter in the service address and the billing address if it is different (do not use any special characters such as a period or a comma).
- After filling in the address, there will be six terms of condition you will need to read over with the applicant and check boxes stating they understand.
- Once you have checked all six boxes, you will then upload the proof of eligibility. You can only upload JPEG or PNG files as proof.
- Once you have uploaded the proof, submit the application. AT&T will then send a mailed decision within 3-5 business days to the mailing address selected.
6. What happens after I apply?
Applicants should receive a decision letter in the mail from AT&T. The letter will let them know whether or not they are eligible for the Access program. If eligible, it provides them with a phone number to call and set up the service.
7. How will my service be installed?
If your home is already wired for AT&T, they may mail a router and self-installation kit to you. If needed, AT&T will send a technician to your home at no additional cost to set up the service. During installation, AT&T will let you know how to set-up billing for the service.
8. What if I already have service with AT&T?
If you meet the eligibility requirements, you can still receive the Access program discount. Follow the application instructions listed above. Once you receive your eligibility letter from AT&T, call to switch your service to the Access program.
For additional help please call AT&T at 855-220-5211. Or after November 1, call the United Way at 855-850-0129.
1. What is Comcast’s affordable broadband offer?
Internet for $9.95+tax/month with in-home WiFi included. Check the coverage via your address. http://www.cabletv.com. If Comcast is an option go to the website https://internetessentials.com/ or call 855-846-8376 for representatives in English and 1-855-765-6995 for Spanish.
2. Who is qualified for Comcast’s affordable broadband rate?
- Have at least one child who qualifies for the National School Lunch Program (NSLP).
- Do not have outstanding debt to Comcast that is less than a year old. Families with outstanding debt more than one year old may still be eligible.
- Live in an area where Comcast Internet Service is available but have not subscribed to it within the last 90 days.Sch
3. What does the Comcast affordable Internet offer include?
There is no credit check, no contract, no installation fee, the speed is 10Mbps, the $9.95 price is available until your child completes the 12th grade as long they are eligible for the National School Lunch Program (NSLP). You can purchase a $150 voucher to use toward a computing device.
4. How do you apply and what happens after customers apply?
You can apply online or call Comcast. If you choose the website go to https://internetessentials.com/ or if you prefer call 1-855-846-8376 for representatives in English or call 1-855-765-6995 for Spanish.
Comcast has a policy that when a school has 70% or more of the students qualify for NSLP program you can skip the application process. These are referred to as auto-enroll schools. Contact the company at 1-855-846-8376 and let the representative answering the call know the name of your school and that it is an auto-enroll school. You may have to escalate the call to a supervisor if the representative does not understand what you mean when you say auto-enroll schools. It is a policy and don’t hesitate to ask for a supervisor.
The process for an auto-enroll school is much faster. Comcast should take your information, confirm that it provides service to your address and mail you an installation kit. If your child is not in an auto-enroll school then you need to complete the application online or call. You can print the application from the Comcast website and mail it if you prefer not to complete it online. The application can be found at https://learning.internetessentials.com.
5. FAQs/Getting Help is here, https://learning.internetessentials.com/getting-help.
Or call the United Way at 855-850-0129.
1. What is Mobile Citizen Affordable Broadband Offer?
Mobile Citizen provides advanced mobile broadband service exclusively to schools, social welfare agencies and non-profits, helping to further learning and productivity by providing Internet access beyond the classroom or office. Mobile Citizen has been providing its low-cost mobile Internet services since 2009 through CLEAR, which is now part of Sprint.
Southeast Community Development Corporation (SCDC) is a non-profit reseller for Mobile Citizen and is allowed to sell service to low-income households.
2. Who Qualifies for the Mobile Citizen Rate?
Anyone who is low-income can purchase the hotspot from the Southeast Community Development Corporation (SCDC); there is no documentation required. There is a one-time purchase price of $125 for the hotspot that includes tax. There are payment plan options for the equipment and it must be purchased at the time of sign-up along with the Internet service.
There are 3 payment plan options for Internet service to choose from: monthly ($15 per month); quarterly ($39 per quarter); and annually ($132 per year). Cash and credit/debit/pre-paid cards are accepted for both the hotspot and the Internet service.
3. What Does the SCDC Offer for Affordable Broadband Service Through Mobile Citizen Include?
Cash and credit/debit/pre-paid cards are accepted for both the hotspot and the Internet service.
4. How Do Customers Apply for Mobile Citizen?
SCDC will ask client to complete a very simple form with their name and contact information. After the purchase for the hotspot and Internet service is made, SCDC staff will activate the device and provide the client with a brief orientation on how to install and use the device.
5. How Will Internet Service Be Installed?
SCDC staff will activate the device and provide you with a brief orientation on how to install and use the device.
You will be provided with a customer service number (323.585.4579) in case they have any questions or need additional assistance. If you are not satisfied with the service within the first 30 days after subscription, you can return the device to SCDC for a full refund.
1. What Is Charter's Affordable Broadband Offer?
Charter (formerly Time Warner) is offering an affordable broadband (Internet) rate of $14.95 per month to low-income customers who have been enrolled for the service for 30 days.
2. Who Qualifies for the Charter Affordable Broadband Rate?
Anyone who has a child enrolled in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) or any senior on SSI, SSD, or SSDI.
3. What Does the Charter Affordable Broadband Offer Include?
High-speed Internet service of 30Mbps with no data limits. WiFi routers costs an additional $5 per month for a total package price of $19.95 per month.
4. How Can I Apply for the Charter Affordable Broadband Offer?
Call 1-844-525-1574 or click on this page.