Low Income Internet Programs For Los Angeles Residents

Low-income residents in the greater Los Angeles area can access low-cost internet service from all the major providers including Spectrum, AT&T, Frontier, and Cox Cable.

However, qualifying for these plans can be complicated if you don’t already participate in a program like SNAP or live in public housing.

Not every household will have access to all 5 programs but almost every home should be able to access 1 or 2 of these highly affordable programs for home internet access.

What Do We Mean By Low Income Internet Programs?

For the purposes of this page, “low-income plans” means reduced-cost programs that are offered by internet service providers in Los Angeles. These plans are in addition to any programs offered under the state’s Lifeline provisions.

That means you can buy one of these plans and still qualify for a Lifeline package from a different provider. That can be very valuable if you want to get a free cellular phone plan in addition to discounted home internet.

However, because these plans are not mandated by state or federal law, they each have very different sets of qualifying requirements. None of these plans are government programs — they are all offered by local internet companies directly.

One of the big potential benefits of some of these plans is the chance to get a free computer or a computer for a very low price. This can be an enormous benefit in a household where a computer would normally just be too expensive to consider.

Spectrum Low Income Internet Program For Los Angeles Residents

Plan NameSpeed Down/UpMonthly PriceWiFi FeeDetails
Spectrum Internet Assist30/4 Mbps$17.99/mo $5/moView Plan

Spectrum is our top choice of Internet Service Provider (ISP) in Los Angeles and California as a whole.

Spectrum does not provide low income Internet services under the Federal or California Lifeline provisions. However, it does offer Spectrum Internet Assist.

Who Qualifies For Spectrum Internet Assist?

There are two qualifying groups for this service:

  • Any family that has a student that uses the National School Lunch Program
  • Any family that has a senior over the age of 65 that gets Supplemental Security Income

However, if you have any outstanding debts to Spectrum, Charter Spectrum or Time Warner Communications – they will not allow you to take Spectrum Internet Assist until these debts are cleared.

If you have previously had services from Charter, Spectrum, Time Warner or Bright House – you are in their coverage area. If you haven’t you may need to check on their website to see if your home is covered by the service – Spectrum is widely available throughout Los Angeles.

What Do You Get From Spectrum Internet Assist?

  • High speed broadband of 30 Mbps download and 4 Mbps upload – this is better than the bare minimum broadband of 25 Mbps and 3 Mbps respectively — for $17.99 a month
  • The ability to add Wi-Fi for another $5 a month (Spectrum only provide a modem as standard and the router adds this monthly fee)
  • Discounts on their bundled TV and phone services commonly offered on sign-up

Is This A Good Deal?

Spectrum’s service is reliable, and this package is better than the basic services provided under Lifeline agreements (which means you can save your Lifeline use, if you qualify, to obtain cellphone services).

One thing we find surprising about this plan is the Wi-Fi charge. You can buy a cheap router online and use that, instead, this will give you Wi-Fi for $0 a month. Most low-income plans don’t charge extra for Wi-Fi, but to be fair, most low-income plans have much lower speeds than what Spectrum offers.

We do like the fact that there are no data caps on this plan. You won’t be getting surprise overage charges on your bill with Spectrum.

You should be cautious about claims that the service cost won’t rise however; the price of Spectrum Assist has already risen up from $14.99 a month to $17.99 per month in the past couple years.

AT&T Low Income Internet Program For Los Angeles Residents

Plan NameSpeed Down/UpMonthly PriceWiFi FeeDetails
AT&T Access 1010/Variable Mbps$10/mo $0/moView Plan

AT&T offers one of the lowest-cost low-income programs for Internet access in Los Angeles (and much of the US for that matter).

AT&T also offers services for people who qualify for Lifeline support — but the AT&T Access program which we are examining here is different and has more favorable terms, if you can qualify:

Who Qualifies For AT&T Access?

The qualification criteria for AT&T Access are:

  • You must live in the AT&T coverage area
  • One person in your household must be in receipt of food stamps on the SNAP program

However, as with Spectrum you must not have any outstanding debts incurred in the last six months to AT&T. We actually think that’s pretty reasonable – it’s much fairer than Spectrum’s lifetime exclusions, that’s for sure.

What Do You Get From AT&T Access?

  • You are eligible to get a subsidized PC if you don’t already own one
  • For an Internet connection of speeds between 768 Kbps and 3 Mbps you will pay only $5 a month. (This is incredibly cheap, but we should point out that it’s quite slow too)
  • For an Internet connection of speeds between 5 Mbps and 10 Mbps you will pay only $10 a month, this is a pretty good deal and while you can’t do everything at these speeds, you can still do a lot
  • You also get free installation and a free Wi-Fi router, which is better than Spectrum’s $5 a month WiFi equipment charge

Is This A Good Deal?

If you have very little money to spare than AT&T’s deal will definitely get you online and in the most affordable fashion. We wish that the speeds were a little faster though — 10 Mbps download is not even the bare minimum standard to be considered “broadband,” and will struggle to support HD streaming or multiple users.

That means internet browsing, e-mail, etc. will be fine but watching video may require a lot of buffering and some online gaming will be impossible (particularly with streaming platforms like Stadia).

We don’t like the fact that there’s a data cap though and $10 for each additional 50 GB over that cap seems particularly harsh, given this plan is geared at people with no other choice for access.

If you’re going to use the Internet a lot – it may work out cheaper to pay a bit more upfront and get an uncapped data plan. In either case, definitely watch your monthly data usage on the AT&T plan.

Frontier Low Income Internet Program For Los Angeles Residents

Frontier’s Low Income Internet program is possibly the best deal out there at the moment for low income individuals.

This should not be confused with Frontier’s Lifeline Internet plan which is also available. This is Frontier’s direct to consumer low-income plan, Fundamental Internet.

Who Qualifies For Frontier Fundamental Internet?

There are four ways to qualify for Frontier FI:

  • If anyone in your family is a recipient of the US Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (CalFresh)
  • If anyone in your home is a recipient of the Supplement Security Income (SSI) benefit
  • If anyone in your home is on the Medi-Cal program
  • If anyone in your family is on the Bureau of Indian Affairs Program

This is a broader range of qualifications than most other ISPs, making this plan overall more accessible.

What Do You Get From Frontier Fundamental Internet?

  • A free HP Chromebook! This is a laptop style computer which runs the Google Chrome operating system. There is a limited supply of these and when they run out – they’re all gone but if you can get one, this makes the Frontier deal a no-brainer
  • Affordable Broadband – they’re a bit coy about what exactly the speed of this package is and that’s because it can vary (12 Mbps down and 1 Mbps up is the minimum but it can be 50 Mbps up and 50 Mbps down depending on the nature of the connection provided) but it’s still faster than the AT&T program – at a cost of $19.99 a month
  • Completely free installation – there are no extra charges for sorting out this connection
  • 24/7 technical support – any kind of support is better than none at all

Is This A Good Deal?

If you can land a free HP Chromebook this is a fantastic deal. Even if you end up with a slower connection than Spectrum it will be faster than the AT&T program and you’ll have a free computer.

Better still, there’s no annual contract – you can walk away whenever you like, free laptop in tow. There’s also no data cap, making it a good choice for cord-cutter households.

However, we think the mandatory $5 Wi-Fi fee (which is part of the $19.99 charge) is a bit much for a plan targeting people with no spare cash. All considered, it’s still a very cheap plan though.

Deposits may be required, depending on your credit and the current terms of service.

Cox Communications Low Income Internet Program For Los Angeles Residents

Plan NameSpeed Down/UpMonthly PriceWiFi FeeDetails
Cox Connect2Compete25/1 Mbps$9.95/mo $0/moView Plan

Cox offers two different low income internet programs each with a different set of qualifying criteria to join.

Cox is not a Lifeline provider, so you can avail yourself of these plans and still claim a cellular phone on the Lifeline plan if you qualify.

Who Qualifies For The Cox Communications Low Income Internet Program?

  • Anyone with a family member participating in the SNAP, TANF and National School Lunch Programs
  • Anyone living in HUD-assisted housing with school-age children

You can’t sign up for Cox if:

  • You’ve previously been a Cox customer in the last 3 months – if you qualify, you will need to cancel and then wait 90 days before you can sign up
  • You have a previous Cox bill that is over 12 months old and unpaid
  • You have any Cox cable equipment that you have not previously returned (you can, however, return it and then immediately qualify)

What Do You Get From The Cox Communications Low Income Internet Program?

  • The low-income internet package which is a fairly unimpressive 5Mbps or 10 Mbps download with no stated upload limit but it’s only $9.95 a month.

  • No deposit needed
  • No installation or modem rental fees
  • No contract to sign – quit when you want without penalty
  • A guarantee of that price for 24 months
  • The chance to buy a cheap computer for $149.99
  • If you take the computer, they supply Norton Security Suite (worth $160) for free too

Is This A Good Deal?

It’s a pretty decent deal for low income internet users. We really wish that the speed of the connection was faster and even at 10 Mbps it’s just not broadband but it’s not bad and you can certainly do a lot of what you want online with it.

We really like the lack of a contract and the lack of hidden fees. A guaranteed rate for 2 years is nice too.

The computer deal is pretty generous, though we’re not quite as impressed with the Norton deal – it’s a subscription product which can be hard to uninstall when the subscription runs out. You can get equally as good security products for free for the PC – and we’d recommend that you do.

We also think that for some families, the fact you don’t need to pay any kind of deposit for this service will be a lifesaver.


Frequently Asked Questions

Does Spectrum have plans for low-income LA residents?

Spectrum has a plan for low-income Los Angeles residents called Spectrum Internet Assist. The plan offers 30 Mbps download internet speeds for less than $20 per month. It costs about twice as much as the competing low-income plan from AT&T in LA, but offers 3X the speed.

How can I get internet if I am on a fixed income?

If you are on a fixed income, you may be able to qualify for reduced-price low income internet plans from Spectrum and AT&T locally. In order to qualify, you will have to apply and show that you already participate in a qualifying public assistance program such as SNAP or Section 8 public housing.

What is the cheapest internet option in Los Angeles?

AT&T has the absolute lowest internet price for Los Angeles low income residents, thanks to their subsidized AT&T Access plan. They offer 10 Mbps internet for only $10 per month with no contract and a free WiFi router lease included. You must already participate in a qualifying public assistance program like SNAP to access the plan. Otherwise, they offer general consumer plans starting in the $30–50 range with speeds up to 940 Mbps.

Page Summary
  • Spectrum has the most common broadband-grade low-income plan, with 30 Mbps download speeds at less than $20 per month. We recommend it for homes with multiple users who plan to stream video regularly.
  • AT&T has the cheapest low-income plan in Los Angeles at 10 Mbps for $10 per month, but it has lower speeds than Spectrum. We recomend it for single-user homes and couples.
  • Low-income plans in LA are not government or subsidy programs. They are private plans offered as a public service by internet providers.

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Last Update: November 15, 2020
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