Xfinity low-income plan AT&T low-income plan Other programs
With more than 20% of residents classified as low-income by Federal standards1, Fresno is a key market for subsidized internet services targeting low-income users.
Compared with other areas in California, Fresno is in a strong position thanks to 90%+ access to Xfinity’s cable network. Among all low income internet plans in California, Xfinity’s Essentials program has the best speed-to-price ratio.
Fresno also offers a couple free public Wi-Fi programs: via the public library system2, as well as for some public transportation routes3.
This page compares each low-income plan in Fresno to the standard consumer plans, so you can qualify the best speed and savings for your situation.
- Xfinity Internet Essentials (low-cost internet)
- Access from AT&T (low-cost internet)
- Fresno public Wi-Fi system (free Wi-Fi)
- Fresno public transit Wi-Fi system (free Wi-Fi)
Comcast Internet Essentials in Fresno
At $9.95 per month for 50 Mbps download, Xfinity’s Essentials program is by far the best offer in the California market.
Unlike the other major cable and telecom companies, Xfinity made efforts to streamline qualification for this program during and after the pandemic.4 They also boosted the speed from the previous 25 Mbps rate.
The main drawback of the Essentials program is that, like most of their consumer plans, it has a 1.2 Terabyte data cap.
This is unlikely to be an issue for most homes, since reaching 1.2 TB of data use over just 50 Mbps connection takes considerable effort. Still, it is possible if a large households consumes a high volume of 4K video throughout the day.
This can add up to $30 per month in overage costs, but the costs are capped for low-income customers.
$9.95 per month is one of the two lowest-cost low-income plans offered in Fresno, and the state more broadly.
Xfinity essentials pricing does not include tax; expect to see an amount between $10–12 on your final billing.
The Xfinity plan includes the Wi-Fi router at no extra cost, although generally the router does not include the advanced functionality of their xFi product line.
How to qualify
Internet Essentials has a simple qualification process based on your participation in goverment programs. The full list of qualifying programs is as follows:
Access from AT&T in Fresno
AT&T offers low-income internet throughout Fresno at a similar rate to Xfinity, targeting a $10 per month price point.
While the price is similar, the speeds offered are significantly lower. This is true even on their more capable fiber network areas.
All that said, AT&T internet is often the only option for low-income housing and larger apartment buildings. If Xfinity can’t run a line to the unit, AT&T service over the vintage telephone line may be the only option.
While cheap, the speed offered on AT&T’s phone line service can be as low as 1–5 Mbps.
Access from AT&T offers 25 Mbps download and 5 Mbps upload, meaning that it meets both federal and California broadband standards.
When you factor in Wi-Fi fade and multiple users, the bandwidth actually reaching your device is likely to be closer to 5–10 Mbps download and 1–2 Mbps upload. Still, this is sufficient for Zoom calls, remote learning, and other common tasks. The only area this plan really struggles is with high-definition video.
While AT&T used to leverage a very low 150 GB data cap for DSL service areas, most of Fresno has now upgraded to IPBB or fiber service.
AT&T charges a flat $10 per month for the Access low-income program. This includes all equipment including Wi-Fi, but does not extend to add-on services like TV or phone.
How to qualify
Compared with Xfinity’s qualification process in Fresno, AT&T makes getting a low-income plan much more challenging. There are only a couple programs they use for qualification at present:
- Supplemental Nutritional Access Program (SNAP)
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for California residents only
- Receive National School Lunch and Head Start Programs benefits
In some cases they may also permit users who can verify an annual income that is 135% or less than the federal poverty guidelines. However this is a limited-time option related to post-Covid relief efforts.
Other free or discount internet access programs in Fresno
Fresno offers two free Wi-Fi options to the general public:
- Fresno public library Wi-Fi and computer access.
- Fresno transportation system public Wi-Fi routes.
Both are easy to qualify for, even for residents that can’t produce address verification such as a utility bill. The library system in Fresno in particular has made their services highly accessible to unhoused or temporary residents.
Outside of library trainings and events, the Fresno Connect Initiative runs ongoing outreach efforts on behalf of low-income programs such as Xfinity Essentials and Access from AT&T. This program also runs events promoting the local LifeLine discount offers for phone service.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the low-income internet options in Fresno?
Comcast Xfinity and AT&T Internet are the primary low-income internet options available throughout Fresno. Both providers offer plans for low-income households at approximately $10 per month. Homes at up to twice the poverty rate can also get discounted rates through the Affordable Connectivity Program.
How can I get Wi-Fi for free in Fresno?
Fresno offers free Wi-Fi access via the public library system. There are no free home access programs for Wi-Fi in Fresno in 2023.