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The 10 Best Free Internet Providers

The United States is home to hundreds of Free internet providers, with many offering reliable services. These companies work with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to avail free internet to millions of households across the country. They apply the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) subsidy to the customer’s monthly internet bills, bringing them down to $0.

But, do you know which of these internet providers is the best regarding internet speeds and availability of unlimited data? This article reviews the top 10 best free internet providers in America to help you choose one that services your needs.

1. AT&T

AT&T provides free internet through the Access by AT&T plan, which costs $30 per month but is free after applying the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) discount. That’s because the ACP discount is worth $30 per month, as it can completely offset the cost of Access by AT&T. For Tribe members, the discount is $75 per month and can help users to acquire more extensive internet packages.

The Access by AT&T package provides internet speeds of up to 100Mbps, which is fast enough for email, basic browsing, video streaming, and gaming. Besides, school-going family members can efficiently complete homework.

ACP-eligible individuals can apply for Access by AT&T via the National Verifier website, AT&T website, or by snail mail to the ACP Support Center. Once enrolled, they will enjoy free internet for one year, after which they must recertify their qualification.

As one of the best free internet providers, AT&T provides free installation on a no-contract arrangement. Plus, users get in-home Wi-Fi, through which they can share the internet on phones, tablets, and laptops.

100Mbps internet speeds
No-contract service sign up
Free installation
No extra equipment charges
Available in a small part of the country
No bundled internet/TV deals

2. Cox Communications

Cox Communications is also an avid participant in the government’s ACP program. The company offers free or paid internet packages, depending on how much you get as your ACP discount. It has two main free internet packages.

The first package is the ConnectAssist plan, which provides free internet courtesy of the ACP. Without the ACP, the package would cost $30. Once the ACP discount is applied, it is entirely free of charge. Users get internet speeds of up to 100Mbps and up to 1.28TB of data for 12 months.

With the Cox Connect2Compete package, users would pay $9.95 without the ACP discount. Therefore, those approved for the ACP get this package free of charge. It provides maximum internet speeds of 100Mbps.

Other Cox packages on which users can apply the ACP discount are StraightUp internet for $50 per month and Essential 100 for $49.99 per month. Users must top up the balance with the $30 basic ACP discount. However, the Tribal $75 discount should cover the total cost of the package.

All packages include a free Wi-Fi modem, free self-installation, no deposit, and no credit checks. That makes Cox Communications one of the best free internet providers in the United States. Besides, on the Connect2Compete package, students may access educational resources on the Cox Digital Academy.

Free Wi-Fi modem
Free self-installation
No credit checks
No deposit
Some packages limit available data
Internet speeds might not be as stated

3. Verizon

Verizon offers free internet to families that qualify for the ACP program. Through the Verizon Forward Program, eligible low-income families get high-speed home internet. The company doesn’t require the payment of any upfront fees for the package.

Users can switch from other networks and join Verizon on the free internet package without incurring early termination fees. That’s because Verizon has undertaken to pay them up to $500 in early termination fees.

The Verizon Forward program is available for Fios by Verizon home internet and 5G mobile internet. Non-ACP eligible customers may also get discounts on their internet by paying only $25 monthly.

With this particular free internet provider, you may apply through the National Verifier, Lifeline, or ACP websites. After approval, you should call Verizon at 1-800-922-0204 for 5G subscribers and 1-800-Verizon for Fios customers.

$500 early termination fees
A 60-day grace period on ACP expiry
Fast application process
Gigabit internet speeds
It may not be available everywhere

4. Comcast Xfinity

Comcast Xfinity is one of the country’s largest free internet providers. It participates in the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) to give low-income families access to the internet. All that’s required is for a family to meet the ACP’s eligibility criteria.

With the ACP discount, beneficiaries may enroll in two available plans – Internet Essentials and Internet Essentials Plus. Xfinity Internet Essentials provides up to 50Mbps and is suitable for working or learning from home, streaming videos, and uploading graphics.

The Xfinity Internet Essentials Plus plan offers speeds up to 100Mbps and is excellent for streaming videos and gaming. Of course, you can use it for work and study. Both internet plans are available on a contract basis and require no credit checks. There are also no equipment fees charged.

If you choose Xfinity Mobile, you’ll enjoy 5G internet speeds everywhere the Comcast network can be found. If you have a combined data/voice plan, the ACP discount pays for the data first. That means you might have to pay for part or all of the voice service.

No long-term contract
No credit check
Charges no equipment fees
Fast internet speeds
Some internet plans are not wholly free
Internet speeds are low by comparison

5. Spectrum

Spectrum, like other free internet providers, participates in the ACP. It provides free or affordable internet to low-income families by factoring in the $30 ACP discount. For Tribe members, the discount of $75 is substantially higher.

Needy families can get free internet via any of two plans – Spectrum Internet 100 and Spectrum Internet Assist. Spectrum Internet 100 costs $29.99 monthly without the ACP program. Therefore, after applying the $30 discount, low-income families get free internet at speeds up to 100Mbps. Eligible households can apply for it by confirming eligibility via the National Verifier website before calling Spectrum at 1-877-959-1748.

On the other hand, the Spectrum Internet Assist program is available to low-income families and senior citizens via the ACP. The plan is worth $14.99 monthly without the ACP discount. That essentially means that it is free with a discount. It provides internet speeds of up to 30Mbps. After checking the Spectrum network availability in your home, eligible families should call 1-844-525-1574 to commence the application process.

Spectrum’s free internet plans come with no-contract arrangements and have no data caps. Plus, users get a free internet modem and in-home Wi-Fi. They can use the internet on multiple devices within the home and work, study, or get entertained.

No long-term contract
Free in-home Wi-Fi
Free internet modem
High-speed internet
It may not be available everywhere
Low internet speed on one plan

CenturyLink is America’s third-largest telecommunications provider of reliable voice, wireless, and broadband services. It provides free internet to low-income families and senior citizens through the ACP. Thus, qualifying individuals can apply the $30 ACP discount on their monthly internet bills until it is completely free. Those from Tribes get up to $75 in ACP subsidies.

Through the CenturyLink Internet Basics program, users get free internet in all parts of the U.S. Without the ACP subsidy, the plan would cost $9.95 per month. If you qualify for the ACP, you’ll get CenturyLink Internet Basics free. Besides, Lifeline-eligible households may use the $9.25 discount to get free internet.

Users can connect to the internet via DSL, Fiber, or 4G wireless on the CenturyLink network. However, 4G and DSL internet are not available in all locations. Therefore, you should check with CenturyLink before signing up.

ACP-eligible individuals can commence the application process by verifying their eligibility on the National Verifier website. After getting a confirmation of eligibility message, they can head to the CenturyLink website to fill out an application form. New customers must purchase the CenturyLink service online before completing the application form.

Free high-speed internet
Easy sign-up process
Low internet speeds
High-speed internet is not available in all areas

7. Optimum

Optimum is one of the best free internet providers in the United States, catering to the needs of low-income families via the ACP. So, you can only get Optimum free internet if you qualify for the ACP. In that case, you must have an income of up to twice the poverty guidelines or participate in a government assistance program.

Through the Optimum Advantage Internet plan, low-income families get internet speeds of up to 50Mbps. The plan costs $14.99 without the ACP discount. Once you qualify for the ACP and get the $30 subsidy, the plan becomes free of charge. That, too, works for Tribal Lands residents who qualify for a $75 ACP subsidy.

If you apply for the Optimum Advantage Internet plan outside the ACP, you may qualify for it if you have children in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP). Also, having a child attend a New York public school can help you enter the program. Senior citizens above 65 who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) can also get into the internet plan.

Besides getting internet speeds of up to 50Mbps, you’ll enjoy several advantages, including a free Wi-Fi router, free installation, and no data caps. It is a risk-free, no-contract plan, which you can cancel anytime. Eligible individuals can apply by calling Optimum at 1-844-358-3147.

Free Installation
No data caps
Free Wi-Fi router
No-contract plan
Not available everywhere
Only one internet plan is available

Q Link Wireless is one of the largest free internet providers in America. It is an elaborate program that welcomes low-income families into the ACP program. The company encourages new customers to join them on a bring-your-own-phone (BYOP) basis. Its attractive package of benefits includes free data, talk, and text.

Anyone can join the program if they participate in a government assistance program such as SNAP, Medicaid, and Food Stamps. Besides, their incomes should be twice the poverty guidelines to enable them to join the ACP.

After signing up, eligible users can bring their old phones and keep their telephone lines. That means they wouldn’t have to call friends and family to remind them of a new phone number.

Applying for Q-Link free internet is the easiest thing to do. Knowing if you’ll be part of the program takes only five minutes. Go to the National Verifier website and check your eligibility status. If you get approved by the Universal Services Administration Company (USAC), you can use the Q Link website to activate the service.

Unlimited data
Simple qualification criteria
Easy application process
Applicable plans unclear
Internet speeds unclear

9. T-Mobile

T-Mobile provides ACP-free internet to low-income families through its two subsidiaries – Metro by T-Mobile and Assurance Wireless. From Metro by T-Mobile, eligible households get free internet by selecting any applicable plans. Once enrolled, users get unlimited talk, texts, and 5GB of high-speed data on the 4G or 5G network. Other plans are subsidized by the $30 discount and are available at $10, $20, or $30.

Assurance Wireless also participates in the ACP and enables its users to apply the $30 discount on their monthly internet bills. Of course, Tribal Lands residents get a $75 subsidy. ACP-eligible individuals get free unlimited data, texts, calls, and 10GB of mobile hotspot data per month. A free Android phone is available on a limited promotional basis.

Besides working through its subsidiaries, T-Mobile offers free internet via Project 10Million to families with school-going children. The company has partnered with Big Brothers Big Sisters of America to create Project 10Million. Qualification criteria include participation in government assistance programs like SNAP, Head Start, Medicaid, TANF, etc. Once enrolled, every child will participate in the program for five years.

The T-Mobile Network Pass plan allows new customers to try the network for three months free. Participants do not have to decide to switch immediately. Instead, they can keep their phone and carrier and get 50GB of data free monthly for three months.

A nationwide network
Some plans have unlimited data
Easy to enroll
Some plans have limited data
May experience reduced data speeds

SuddenLink also participates in the ACP, providing free internet to qualifying customers by applying the $30 subsidy on the monthly internet bill. New and existing SuddenLink customers can qualify and apply for the ACP. However, only one SuddenLink internet plan is free, courtesy of the $30 discount. Others may require the $75 discount to be completely free of charge.

The company offers Fiber, DSL, and satellite internet services, reaching millions of families countrywide. With the SuddenLink Fiber Internet program, users get internet speeds of up to 100Mbps for $29.99. Therefore, this internet plan is free after applying the $30 (or $75 on Tribal Lands) ACP discount.

Of course, SuddenLink has other plans, including Fiber Internet 300 with 300Mbps download speeds, Fiber Internet 500 with 500Mbps download speeds, and Fiber Internet 1 GIG with 1Gbps internet speeds. With pricing of $39.99, $59.99, and $79.99, these pans would require topping up even with the ACP discount.

In 2020, SuddenLink launched the Altice Advantage Internet for school-going children affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. The program costs only $14.99 and would be free with the ACP discount. It provides internet speeds of up to 30Mbps and comes with free equipment, unlimited data, and a no-contract arrangement.

High-speed internet
Some plans are free
Fiber internet
Some plans are only subsidized
May have limited internet speeds

The Bottom Line

With the complete line-up of the best free internet providers in the United States, it should be easier for you to get the services you need. When evaluating a free internet service provider, check for the internet speeds, unlimited data availability, and the contract’s nature. Most of the available providers have no-contract arrangements for free internet. Don’t forget to look at the network availability.

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