With many schools conducting at-home learning and many jobs becoming entirely remote, low-cost internet has become critical for families of all sizes, careers and incomes.

Many internet service providers have offerings to help you take advantage of their services at lower rates or for free, but the policies can be difficult to navigate. It’s very important to secure services from a reliable provider.

High Speed Internet Calculator

United Way has a High Speed Internet Calculator that will connect you to the low-cost internet services that are likely available to you. This resource will fast-track the process of discovering your options and ensure that you are working with only reliable providers and services.

How Does the Service Work?

To use the service, you enter information including income, household size and public assistance programs in which you are enrolled into the calculator at broadband.unitedwaysca.org. The calculator will tell you low-cost internet service offerings that you may qualify for and will provide links for you to sign up. You can text 211-211 or speak to a representative via text support.

Once you have been provided with the information about your options you will be given instructions and links on how to apply for the right service for you. The benefits come in many forms — most commonly month-to-month arrangements — and the options include low-cost service or financial assistance for internet bills.

Plans for Families, Students, Seniors

Families are eligible for programs like Lifeline that provide assistance to lower the cost of broadband internet service. You might qualify for these programs depending on zip code, income level, public assistance eligibility and family circumstances.

Many low-cost internet services are available for children who receive school lunch and other assistance benefits. In fact, many of the services are highly focused on providing low-cost internet for students. Students receiving financial aid may also be eligible for devices through programs like Computers for Classrooms.

Seniors are eligible for any of the service options if they fall within the eligibility requirements, and they are also eligible for programs like Computers for Classrooms. This program provides guaranteed working computers to seniors who cannot afford them.

Low-cost Internet Service Providers

Here is the list of providers and services offering quality low-cost internet. This list, as well as a list of affordable device offerings, digital literacy support and other family resources is also available here.

Frontier (Lifeline) lowers the cost of monthly internet service, phone service or both services for low-income individuals.

Spectrum offers low-cost no-contract internet services for those enrolled in specific public assistance programs.

Comcast offers monthly internet service for under $10 to those who receive public assistance like the National School Lunch Program, Housing Assistance, Medicaid, SNAP and SSI.

AT&T offers low-cost wireline service to those who are part of the SNAP program or receive SSI.

Human-I-T is a non-profit organization that can connect you to internet service if you receive any of a long list of public assistance benefits.

Do I Qualify?

If you are eligible for programs like SNAP and School Meals, you’re likely eligible to receive low-cost broadband service. You may be surprised, however, to discover benefits you could receive at a fairly robust income level.

Some programs, like Everyone On, base eligibility on zip code and household circumstances. Spectrum bases eligibility on enrollment in the The National School Lunch Program (NSLP), free or reduced cost lunch, The Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) of the NSLP or Supplemental Security Income.

The calculator tool will determine these things for you — every program is different, but you might qualify for a number of them.

How do I Apply?

If you would like to sign up using the High Speed Internet Calculator:

  1. Visit broadband.unitedwaysca.org and enter your zip code into the question box.
  2. The site will take you to the High Speed Internet Calculator tool, where you’ll need to enter your Zip Code, Household Size, Monthly Income and Email or Phone Number. You’ll also be asked to check boxes for different public assistance programs that you are enrolled in. (These help to confirm your eligibility.) Click “Check Availability” after you have entered your information.
  3. The site will tell you what programs you may be eligible for with links and instructions to complete your application. The service will also follow up with you via the email address or phone number you provided to make sure that you receive all the information you need.

If you would like to receive information:

Text ‘Internet’ to 211-211. You’ll be asked to answer a few questions and will receive more information.

You can also click on the Resources button on broadband.unitedwaysca.org and visit the internet service provider sites listed there.

If you need support: 

If you need help submitting your application or following up with a service provider, you can text United Way’s broadband benefits partner Human i-t at 562-372-6925.