For low-income Americans, 1985 brought federally-subsidized landline phones, 2005 brought cell phones, and 2016 will bring at-home high-speed Internet.
Starting on December 02, 2016, the Lifeline Assistance Program will begin subsidizing at-home Internet subscriptions.
Each household meeting one of the following eligibility criteria OR earning at or under 135% of the federal poverty guidelines – for a family of four, making at or under $32,800 a year – is now eligible for a $9.25 per month subsidy to pay for Internet access at home.
You are eligible if you
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as Food Stamps;
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI);
- Federal Public Housing Assistance
- Veterans Pension and Survivors Benefit
Reside on Tribal lands and participate in:
- Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance;
- Head Start (only households meeting the income qualifying standard);
- Tribal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (Tribal TANF); or
- Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations.
What does this mean?
Qualifying households are eligible for one Lifeline subsidy per household.
- The subsidy is $9.25 a month.
- The subsidy can offset the costs of at-home Internet connectivity.
- One subsidy per household: Families currently using Lifeline voice subsidies would have to give up their Lifeline voice service in order to apply the Lifeline subsidy to high-speed Internet. We encourage households looking to retain their Lifeline voice subsidy to visit our Offer Locator Tool to find other affordable offers for high-speed Internet service.
Previously, the Lifeline subsidy could only be applied to landline or wireless phone service. While mobile access to the Internet is useful and necessary, imagine typing research papers or your resume on a smartphone. Imagine pursuing a degree online and using only a phone to view recorded lectures, complete online tests, and take notes. These users either blow through their cell phone data plans or are confined to areas that provide free Wi-Fi like public libraries or fast food restaurants. At-home Internet provides these low-income individuals with the opportunity to leverage technology fully in the education, employment, financial management, and real estate spaces, among others. Starting on December 02, 2016, the Lifeline subsidy will support at-home high-speed Internet connectivity.
EveryoneOn and Lifeline
At EveryoneOn, we agree with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that high-speed Internet is a utility, not a luxury. At-home Internet connectivity and the opportunities it affords should be available to everyone, not just those who can afford market-rate service. Since 2012, we’ve been working towards all three legs of the digital inclusion stool, including securing low-cost Internet offers for low-income people in America. Lifeline represents the next step forward in at-home connectivity.
By applying the $9.25 per month Lifeline subsidy to low-cost home Internet offers, at-home high-speed Internet is within reach for low-income households more than ever before.
We’re excited to help make this subsidy available to our partners and to all eligible people in the United States. Click on one of the four options below to learn more.