While the internet hasn’t been classified as a necessary utility yet, it’s only a matter of time before it’s up there with things like water and electricity. In the meanwhile, renters and homeowners alike have to contend with a variety of different internet providers, determining which will help them meet their needs.
There are times when an internet service just isn’t in your budget. There’s no need to go without internet, though, or even to truck back and forth to your local hotspots. Instead, you can work within your means to get free internet.
The Best Ways to Get Free Internet
Free internet access is more manageable than you might think. Some of your best options for a quick and free wireless connection connection include but are not limited to:
NetZero is one of the oldest internet service providers still in operation today. Instead of relying on a router, you can download software onto your computer or cellphone that lets you connect to the NetZero servers.
Unfortunately, there are limits on what NetZero users can do online. For example, users are limited to 10 hours of internet time per month. The good news is that you can download NetZero’s software at your leisure with no contracts, no phone calls, and no agreements. The platform even offers a few different plans to those parties who can afford low-income internet, with prices capping near $42 per month.
Emergency Broadband Benefit Program
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought several changes to the world, and not just in the field of medicine. A new government assistance program, called the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program, helps connect low-income families to a discounted internet service. Households under a certain amount of income can pay as little as $50 a month to access a provider’s internet service. That cost, of course, places the EBB firmly into the “low-cost internet” camp, but its cost cap makes it far more affordable than a traditional plan through the United States’ same internet providers.
Municipal Wireless Networks
As mentioned, there’s a future coming soon that allows everyone access to the internet as a utility. Some cities around the globe have already started down this path. A city’s municipal wireless network, for example, ensures that in-need residents get free access to limited internet, no matter where in the city they are.
Unfortunately, most municipal wireless networks are currently confined to urban areas. That said, it’s likely that more and more cities will see these kinds of wireless networks implemented over the course of the next decade. You can learn more about your area’s municipal wireless network by chatting with area representatives.
If you primarily use your phone to connect to a local internet service, then InstaBridge is the app for you. This app connects your smartphone with local internet connections, providing you with a password to share between yourself, the internet’s primary owner, and an in-need community.
Freedom Pop is one of the most popular services to provide homes without internet access with a connection to the web. The company doesn’t consider itself an internet provider. Instead, they’ll provide you with a router in exchange for a safety deposit. You’ll have the opportunity to travel with this router at your leisure, gaining access to free internet whenever you turn it on.
You can return your router at any point in exchange for your safety deposit, no fees attached. While using a Freedom Pop router, you’ll be able to use up to 500MB of data; alternatively, if you sign up for a plan, you can receive up to 2GB of data for only $19 per month.
In short, Freedom Pop offers versatile and cost-friendly internet service to those in need. If you’re in the market for free internet at home or on the road, this service may be for you.
Wi-Fi Free Spot
Wi-Fi Free Spot is a service that helps you find areas in your county where you can access Wi-Fi at no cost. If you move frequently, or if you’re looking for a new place to settle down, this service can help you determine which neighborhood in your new town will help you stay connected to the internet. Once you know where to go, you can take advantage of local platforms, including local libraries, to get online and conduct your business at your leisure.
Those of you who are more technologically inclined may not need to collaborate with another service to get free internet. Instead, you can take advantage of a mesh network. Mesh networks are on the rise, given their extensive usability and low costs.
What is a mesh network?
It is, in essence, a net that connects all of the wireless routers in your general area. A mesh network piggybacks off of these connections, pulling them together to create a supplementary and free internet connection.
While the free internet access is great, note that mesh networks come with startup costs, especially in the way of materials. These networks aren’t as fast as some of the more traditional ones that are free or low-cost, either. However, mesh networks are especially sustainable. You’ll be able to benefit from a mesh network and its affiliated community for a long time, no matter what your financial or living situation looks like.
Should You Get Low-Cost Internet or Free Internet?
If you’re tight on funds but have a little bit of wiggle room, you have more internet access options available to you. For starters, you can forgo free internet services in favor of low-cost internet services.
Low-cost internet services are services advertised by the internet providers serving your area. These services aren’t as elaborate as a provider’s full package. For example, they rarely provide you with high-speed internet and instead set you up with something more akin to dial-up. However, the low-cost benefit of this kind of internet allows you to constantly access connections without having to jump through governmental hoops.
Does that mean it’s worth it to negotiate with internet service providers, especially if the future of your income is uncertain? At the end of the day, that’s entirely up to you. Take a look at your budget and determine what kind of risks you can take. If you have the means to afford payments of roughly $30 per month, you may enjoy low-cost internet more than free internet. However, free Wi-Fi allows you to continue saving money for other purposes, including groceries, childcare and days out.
In short, take a look at your finances and choose for yourself what kind of internet service you’re interested in. You have a variety of options available to you; there’s no harm, then, in using the one that suits your needs best.
Supplement the Cost of Your Internet With Help From Swagbucks
Don’t feel confined by the internet providers in your area. Instead of paying exorbitant fees, you can bring free internet to a home in need. Once you have your connection set up, you can even start to put money away for better service.
Systems like Swagbucks are ideal for folks who don’t have a consistent connection to the internet or other Wi-Fi hotspots. You can spend a few minutes every day taking surveys, watching videos, and interacting with giveaways on Swagbucks’ platform to earn in-platform points. At the end of the day, you can use third-party programs like PayPal to cash those points out for cash and gift cards to your favorite retailers.
One day, the internet will be as much a right as water and electricity. For now, don’t let unreasonable provider fees stop you from setting up an internet connection. Explore the options you have for local connectivity today.
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