Free and Low-Cost Internet Options

Emergency Broadband Benefit

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has launched a short-term Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) program, which provides broadband internet service for eligible New York City households, at a reduced cost, during the COVID-19 pandemic.

All families with a student enrolled in a DOE school or program are eligible for this benefit. Families can confirm their eligibility, apply for the program, and find participating broadband providers via the USAC website. There are two types of benefits available to eligible households:

  • Monthly Benefit: A discount of up to $50/month for broadband service, equipment, and device rentals; and
  • One-time Device Discount: A one-time discount of up to $100 for a laptop, tablet, or desktop computer (with a co-payment of $10 - $50), where available.

To apply for the EBB program, confirm your household’s eligibility, and find participating broadband internet providers, visit the Universal Service Administrative Company’s EBB Program website.

If you are seeking to qualify for EBB through your child or dependent, please choose the "USDA Community Eligibility Provision" option from the pulldown menu when prompted. Then, select "NYC Chancellor" from the next pulldown menu when asked for your school district. You'll then be asked to search for your child's school from a list—please select it, and then submit your application.

For questions and support, schools and families should email EBBHelp@usac.org or call (833) 511-0311.

There are several free or low-cost internet options available to New York City students and families.

Free Internet for Your Home

The following internet carriers are offering free household Wi-Fi or special accommodations for 60 days:

  • Comcast
  • Charter Communications/Spectrum
  • Altice

Learn more about the above at NYC.gov.

Free Internet Locations in NYC

There are many places across the city where you can go to connect to internet for free. Locations include:

Low-Cost Internet Plans

The following internet plans are available to eligible participants. Eligibility varies by provider. Contact the provider for more information.

Altice (also known as Optimum)

Altice offers Altice Advantage, a plan that starts at $14.99/month. To qualify, you must be:

  • eligible for--or participate in--the National School Lunch Program (NSLP); or
  • a New York City resident who attends a New York City public school; or
  • eligible for--or receive--Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and 65 years of age or older; or
  • a veteran and receive state or federal public assistance.

Charter (also known as Spectrum)

Charter offers Spectrum Internet Assist, a plan that starts at $14.99/month. To qualify, one or more members of your household must be a recipient of one of the following assistance programs:

  • National School Lunch Program (NSLP) 
  • Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) of the NSLP 
  • Supplemental Security Income (for applicants age 65+ only) 

Verizon

Verizon offers the Lifeline program, a plan that starts at $19.99/month. To qualify:

  • Your annual income is at 135% or less than of the U.S. federal poverty guidelines
  • You, or someone in your household, participates in a qualifying federal assistance program:
    • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) (formerly known as food stamps), or
    • Medicaid, or
    • Supplemental Security Income (SSI) 
    • Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA) 
    • Veterans Pension and Survivors Benefit 
    • Tribal Programs (and live on federally-recognized Tribal lands)

For more eligibility information, visit Lifelinesupport.org

Wi-Fi Hotspots for Existing Cable Customers

As an extension of their internet service, the providers listed below enable each other's high-speed internet customers to access up to 500,000 nationwide WiFi hotspots through the network name CableWiFi:

  • Cox
  • Optimum
  • Spectrum
  • Xfinity

Learn more at cablewifi.com

Back to Top