Phone giant AT&T is ready to begin offering low-income Americans high-speed internet service for as little $5 per month.
The Federal Communications Commission just approved AT&T’s purchase of DirecTV, the nation’s largest provider of satellite-based telephone, television and internet services.
Unlike the free government cell phone program it won’t be free, but with the outrageously high expense of getting connected to the internet these days, the ultra low cost is going to make it a sweet deal. And one that will be available to millions, if not tens of millions of people.
Here’s how FierceTelecom.com described AT&T’s proposed low-cost plan for low-income Americans just before it was approved by the FCC:
AT&T plans to offer low-cost Internet service of $5 to $10 per month to lower income consumers who receive food stamps if the FCC approves its pending acquisition of DirecTV.
In an FCC filing, AT&T says that it would offer two plans for low income families. For the first plan, AT&T will provide a DSL-based service of up to 5 Mbps in its wireline footprint for $10 a month. Following a 12-month promotional period, the price will go up to $20 a month.
The second plan would address areas where it does not have the infrastructure in place to support speeds higher than 2 to 3 Mbps. Eligible consumers in those areas will be able to get a 1.5 Mbps connection for $5 a month for the first year. After 12 months, the price would rise to $10 a month.
This is surely of great interest to the tens of thousands of our readers, and we can almost hear them saying, “How do I qualify?” The answer is simple and similar, but more restrictive than the ways you can qualify for the Lifeline Assistance free government cell phone plan.
Of course, you can qualify for Lifeline Assistance by participating in a number of other federal and state aid programs. AT&T’s proposal, however, is limited to those who qualify for Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), otherwise known as food stamps. The key word is qualify. You aren’t actually required to participate in the program, but you must qualify for it.
Unfortunately, these are very difficult economic times and far too many Americans find themselves qualified for SNAP. The Washington Examiner says:
Nearly 20 percent of households in the United States are enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, otherwise known as food stamps, according to the Department of Agriculture. That proportion amounts to nearly 23 million U.S. homes on food stamps … A household of three must earn under $2,144 a month, or $25,728 annualized, to be eligible for food stamps. Income limits are higher in Alaska and Hawaii. Recipient households may only have $2,250 in countable resources, such as a bank account. The Department of Agriculture expects households on food stamps to spend about 30 percent of their resources on food.
It doesn’t appear that the nation’s economy is experiencing any significant growth and that seems to be proven out by some sad food stamp statistics:
- The number of beneficiaries of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), otherwise known as food stamps, has exceeded 45 million for 48 straight months, according to data released by the Department of Agriculture (USDA).
- In April 2015 there were 45,438,832 beneficiaries of the food stamp program.
Will this program be available for you? It depends on where you live. Here are the 21 states and the major cities in each state in which AT&T offers high-speed internet service. (This list is ever-changing and not intended to be definitive. Check with AT&T to find out if service is offered in your area.)
To keep up with the many internet programs that are available to low-income Americans, please head over to CheapInternet.com.
ALABAMA: Bessemer, Birmingham, Decatur, Florence, Gadsden, Huntsville, Madison, Mobile, Montgomery, Tuscaloosa
ARKANSAS: Conway, Fayetteville, Fort Smith, Hot Springs, Jonesboro, Little Rock, North Little Rock, Rogers, Springdale
CALIFORNIA: Alameda, Alhambra, Anaheim, Antioch, Arcadia, Bakersfield, Baldwin Park, Bell Gardens, Bellflower, Berkeley, Buena Park, Burbank, Camarillo, Canoga Park, Canyon Country, Carlsbad, Carson, Chico, Chino Hills, Chula Vista, Citrus Heights, Clovis, Compton, Concord, Corona, Costa Mesa, Daly City, Davis, Downey, El Cajon, El Monte, Elk Grove, Escondido, Fairfield, Folsom, Fontana, Fremont, Fresno, Fullerton, Garden Grove, Gardena, Glendale, Hanford, Hawthorne, Hayward, Huntington Park, Inglewood, Irvine, La Habra, La Mesa, La Puente, Laguna Niguel, Lake Elsinore, Lakewood, Lancaster, Livermore, Lodi, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Lynwood, Madera, Manteca, Merced, Milpitas, Mission Viejo, Modesto, Moreno Valley, Mountain View, Napa, North Hollywood, Oakland, Oceanside, Ontario, Orange, Oxnard, Pacoima, Palmdale, Palo Alto, Panorama City, Pasadena, Perris, Petaluma, Pittsburg, Pleasanton, Porterville, Redding, Redlands, Redondo Beach, Redwood City, Reseda, Rialto, Richmond, Riverside, Roseville, Sacramento, Salinas, San Bernardino, San Clemente, San Diego, San Francisco, San José, San Leandro, San Luis Obispo, San Marcos, San Mateo, San Pedro, San Rafael, San Ramon, Santa Ana, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Santa Maria, Santa Rosa, Simi Valley, South Gate, South San Francisco, Spring Valley, Stockton, Sunnyvale, Sylmar, Thousand Oaks, Torrance, Tracy, Tulare, Turlock, Tustin, Union City, Vacaville, Vallejo, Van Nuys, Ventura, Visalia, Vista, Walnut Creek, Watsonville, Westminster, Whittier, Woodland Hills, Yorba Linda, Yuba City
FLORIDA: Apopka, Boca Raton, Boynton Beach, Brooksville, Cocoa, Daytona Beach, Delray Beach, Deltona, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Pierce, Gainesville, Hialeah, Hollywood, Homestead, Jacksonville, Jupiter, Lake Worth, Melbourne, Miami, Miami Beach, Milton, Ocala, Opa Locka, Orange Park, Orlando, Oviedo, Palm Bay, Palm Beach Gardens, Palm Coast, Panama City, Pensacola, Pompano Beach, Port Orange, Port Saint Lucie, Saint Augustine, Sanford, Spring Hill, Stuart, Vero Beach, West Palm Beach, Winter Park
GEORGIA: Acworth, Albany, Alpharetta, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Brunswick, Buford, Canton, Columbus, Conyers, Covington, Cumming, Dallas, Dalton, Decatur, Douglasville, Duluth, Gainesville, Jonesboro, Kennesaw, Lawrenceville, Lithonia, Macon, Marietta, Mcdonough, Newnan, Norcross, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Snellville, Stockbridge, Stone Mountain, Suwanee, Valdosta, Warner Robins, Woodstock
ILLINOIS: Arlington Heights, Aurora, Belleville, Berwyn, Bolingbrook, Champaign, Chicago, Cicero, Decatur, Des Plaines, Elgin, Evanston, Joliet, Naperville, Orland Park, Palatine, Peoria, Plainfield, Rockford, Schaumburg, Springfield, Tinley Park, Waukegan
INDIANA: Anderson, Bloomington, Carmel, Columbus, Elkhart, Evansville, Fishers, Fort Wayne, Gary, Greenwood, Hammond, Indianapolis, Kokomo, Lafayette, Muncie, Noblesville, South Bend, Valparaiso, West Lafayette
KANSAS: Kansas City, Lawrence, Olathe, Overland Park, Shawnee, Topeka, Wichita
KENTUCKY: Bowling Green, Lexington, Louisville, Owensboro
LOUISIANA: Baton Rouge, Bossier City, Denham Springs, Houma, Kenner, Lafayette, Lake Charles, Metairie, Monroe, New Orleans, Shreveport, Slidell
MICHIGAN: Ann Arbor, Battle Creek, Bay City, Canton, Clinton Township, Dearborn, Detroit, East Lansing, Farmington, Flint, Grand Rapids, Holland, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Lansing, Livonia, Macomb, Midland, Muskegon, Rochester, Saginaw, Southfield, Sterling Heights, Taylor, Traverse City, Troy, Utica, Warren, Waterford, West Bloomfield, Westland, Ypsilanti
MISSOURI: Ballwin, Columbia, Florissant, Independence, Jefferson City, Joplin, Kansas City, Lees Summit, O Fallon, Saint Charles, Saint Joseph, Saint Louis, Saint Peters, Springfield
MISSISSIPPI: Brandon, Gulfport, Hattiesburg, Jackson, Meridian
NORTH CAROLINA: Asheville, Burlington, Cary, Chapel Hill, Charlotte, Concord, Durham, Gastonia, Goldsboro, Greensboro, Hendersonville, Hickory, High Point, Lexington, Matthews, Mooresville, Raleigh, Salisbury, Statesville, Wilmington, Winston Salem
NEVADA: Las Vegas, Reno, Sparks
OHIO: Akron, Canton, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, Dublin, Hamilton, Massillon, Middletown, Springfield, Toledo, Warren, Westerville, Youngstown
OKLAHOMA: Broken Arrow, Edmond, Lawton, Norman, Oklahoma City, Tulsa
SOUTH CAROLINA: Aiken, Anderson, Charleston, Columbia, Florence, Greenville, Greer, Lexington, Mount Pleasant, North Charleston, Rock Hill, Simpsonville, Spartanburg, Summerville, Sumter
TENNESSEE: Antioch, Chattanooga, Clarksville, Cleveland, Cordova, Franklin, Jackson, Knoxville, Maryville, Memphis, Murfreesboro, Nashville
TEXAS: Abilene, Allen, Amarillo, Arlington, Austin, Beaumont, Brownsville, Bryan, Carrollton, Cedar Park, Conroe, Corpus Christi, Cypress, Dallas, Edinburg, El Paso, Flower Mound, Fort Worth, Frisco, Garland, Georgetown, Grand Prairie, Harlingen, Houston, Humble, Huntsville, Irving, Katy, Keller, Killeen, Laredo, League City, Lewisville, Longview, Lubbock, Mcallen, Mckinney, Mesquite, Midland, Mission, Missouri City, New Braunfels, Odessa, Pasadena, Pearland, Pflugerville, Pharr, Plano, Richardson, Richmond, Round Rock, San Antonio, San Marcos, Spring, Sugar Land, Temple, Tomball, Tyler, Victoria, Waco, Weatherford, Weslaco, Wichita Falls
WISCONSIN: Appleton, Eau Claire, Green Bay, Janesville, Kenosha, Madison, Milwaukee, Oshkosh, Racine, Sheboygan, Waukesha