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5 Ways to Get the Internet When You Can't Afford It

Tips to connect to the Internet without stretching your budget.

For many families, access to broadband Internet can be a challenge. The Federal Communications Commission has added broadband Internet service to the 30-year-old Lifeline program which subsidizes voice service for low-income households. But until the service is widely available, there are some alternatives. Many do not know, for example, that there are plans accessible to families with low incomes. Look for providers in your area using and Connect2Compete.

Here are five ideas that you can explore and use to connect to broadband Internet:

1. Public libraries: You can access broadband Internet in many public libraries, usually for a limited time, depending on where you live.

2. Places with Wi-Fi: Most food chains and stores offer free access for those who use or consume their services. In some places there are time constraints.

3. Friends, family and neighbors: Find people who are close to you and have broadband Internet in their home.

4. Share the cost: Try coordinating with one or two families who live near you and explore the possibility of splitting the cost for access between all. Look at the amount of gigabytes offered by the provider to be a service that can be used without difficulty.

5. Computer labs in schools: Most schools have computer centers. Ask what times are available after school for your children to do their homework.

Maria Oxalide Alvarez

Maria O. Alvarez is the former vice president for family and community engagement at Common Sense. She created and led Common Sense Latino, as well as the family and community engagement team. Maria is passionate about connecting with families and responding to their unique media and technology needs, and empowering them to navigate the digital world with confidence. She is the proud mom of two bilingual and bicultural boys.