There are a variety of low cost broadband access options available.
For non-profits, schools, and libraries
Mobile Beacon and Mobile Citizen are two non-profits which work with Sprint and their LTE network to provide wireless broadband connectivity. Both provide access to the Sprint LTE network for use by non-profits and schools via a hotspot for the cost of equipment plus $120 per year. Many organizations maintain a pool of devices which can be loaned to clients/students/staff members.
Mobile Beacon has partnered with TechSoup to donate up to eleven mobile hotspots to a non-profit or library branch for an administrative fee. Details are available at Tech Soup’s Mobile Beacon offer. The hotspot made available is a 4G LTE hotspot which supports up to ten wifi-enabled devices. Details are available at Tech Soup’s Mobile Beacon offer
Mobile Beacon has partnered with Digital Wish to donate up to eleven mobile hotspots to a school for an administrative fee. Details are available at Digital Wish Mobile Beacon offer.
Other devices are also available for purchase from Mobile Beacon, including 3G and LTE Plus hotspots, wireless modem, and USB Modem. All devices work with the $120 annual fee. To check on coverage, you can find instructions and a link to Sprint’s coverage map here
Mobile Citizen provides low-cost broadband access to non-profits and schools and sponsors a program allowing a non-profit to become a reseller of equipment and broadband service, helping to make the low cost service widely available to low income people who could not otherwise afford Internet service. See Mobile Citizen’s Reseller page for details. The reseller program may be of particular interest to agencies that provide clients with computer equipment, since it vastly increases the utility of the computer at a cost of $10 per month.
For end-user clients
Depending on location, end users may be able to take advantage of the following low-cost options from carriers:
The AT&T Access program provides low cost home Internet service to qualifying households:
With at least one resident who participates in the U.S. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and
Without outstanding debt for AT&T fixed Internet service within the last six months or outstanding debt incurred under this program.
If you are a California resident and at least one member of your household receives Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits you also may qualify based on the same requirements that apply to SNAP participants.
All households who receive HUD housing assistance such as Public Housing, Housing Choice Vouchers (Section 8 Vouchers) or Multifamily Vouchers (Project-Based Section 8) are eligible for this cable Internet service for $9.95 a month plus tax.Applicants must not have an outstanding debt to Comcast that is less than a year old. They must also live in an area where Comcast Internet service is available but not have subscribed to it within the last 90 days. Buildings must have coaxial cable infrastructure installed.
Accepted forms of documentation: Applicants must present a copy of one of the following items from the current or previous year: their residential lease agreement (including the Section 8 Tenancy Addendum if applicable), tenant income certification form, voucher form, rent statement or rent letter. The document(s) must be on official letterhead and include your name, address, and the name of the local Public Housing Authority or the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Residents can request a copy of the relevant documentation from their local Public Housing Authority or their landlord.
Each of these programs have income requirements, as well as constraints on availability within specific locations.
Stay tuned for more details as FCC’s Lifeline for Broadband program takes shape.