Did you know that you can watch TV on cable TV without an antenna for receiving a signal? Internet access can also let you stream your favorite television programs without a paid subscription.
That’s why cable companies use coaxial cable or optical fiber to deliver premium phone, TV, and internet services to homes. The federal government provides some fee-free essential utilities like free internet for the less fortunate. But it doesn’t offer free or cheap cable tv for low-income individuals.
Without subsidized services, you have to look for cheap cable and internet packages. Fortunately, there are several operators offering budget deals and packages, helping you afford your connection.
Check out targeted-demographics’ cable deals, such as Spectrum cable tv for low-income seniors. In this post, we’ll give you minimum qualification requirements, tips for identifying cheap cable companies for your needs, and a roundup of the ten best providers.
Best Cheap Cable TV for Low Income Individuals
Americans have been enjoying cable services for many years, with most households enjoying unlimited TV programs’ access. Recently, we’ve witnessed an increased demand for these services.
As a result, cable companies are creating different consumer packages, depending on your purchasing power. You can choose between premium modules for average-income consumers and cheap cable tv for low income customers.
Therefore, most people are choosing fiber-based products that offer bundled services to save on their monthly cable bills. Watching television is a major source of entertainment among most low-income families.
So, getting a cheaper cable provider is a priority. Monthly prices between $50 and below are often preferable. Although these rates will vary by channel selection and the count of TV sets in your household.
Here are the general minimum requirements to qualify for cheap cable tv and internet for low-income families.
Eligibility Criteria to Cheap Cable TV for Low Income Families
The government is offering opportunities for the less fortunate to access premium digital products. They provide discounts through Lifeline to make phone services and the internet accessible to fixed income individuals.
You may qualify for Lifeline if you or someone in your household participates in a federal assistance initiative. The FCC sponsored Lifeline program offers subsidies of $9.25 monthly to eligible citizens.
You can automatically qualify for Lifeline through one of the federal-sponsored programs below:
Eligible Federal Assistance Programs Lifeline
- FPHA – Federal Public Housing Assistance
- SNAP – Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
- VPSB – Veterans Pension and Survivors Benefit
- Medicaid – Medical Aid
- SSI – Supplemental Security Income
Apart from the five, these tribal assistance programs can also make you eligible for Lifeline:
Eligible Tribal Assistance Initiatives for Lifeline
- FDPIR – Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations
- TANF – Tribally Administered Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
- BIAGA – Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance
- Head Start for those who meet the income eligibility criteria
Cable TV is just as essential as Lifeline. It brings different communities closer by sharing news items and other media content. That’s why some service providers use Lifeline’s eligibility criteria to offer cheap cable tv for low-income Americans.
Steps for Identifying The Best Cheap Cable TV Providers
Step 1: Finding Cable Providers Participating in the Lifeline Assistance Program
Do your homework to find all Lifeline cable tv providers in your area. In that way, you will learn about new and current operators, plus companies with positive and negative reviews. Browse through search engines or social networks to gather this information.
Step 2: Identifying your Family’s Preferred Channels
The first step should help you shortlist the best service providers. After that, start listing the must-have channels for you or your family.
It would be best, to begin with writing down what you want before comparing it with the provider’s offerings. With that list, remove unsuitable providers and remain with those that meet your needs.
Step 3: Comparing Cheap Cable TV Plans and Rates
Keep in mind that you’re doing this investigation to find a cheaper cable tv and internet option. Otherwise, you can opt for any company when funds are not the problem. Compromising on quality may not help. So, you’ll want to avoid getting an affordable alternative with poor quality.
Moreover, don’t forget that some providers have hidden fees. It pays to select a cable company that assures you top quality while maintaining transparency on costs. Also, getting a provider that’ll allow you to negotiate monthly rates is a smart idea.
Veterans, persons with a disability, seniors, and other fixed-income earners can land huge rebates on their cable TV bills. But this varies from one case to another. Determine beforehand what low-income cable discounts you qualify for in your region.
Step 4: Investigating Customer Reviews
What are customers saying about the companies you’ve shortlisted? Note that perfect service providers don’t exist. And you can tell that from their consumer reviews online.
Even so, evaluate the customers’ opinions and use service and affordability ratings to narrow down your choices. It’s also possible that some reviews will provide guidelines on the company’s requirements and application process.
Step 5: Assessing Customer Care Services
Does the cable TV service have a dedicated customer support department? If so, what is the general opinion about customers’ satisfaction levels? We recommend that you also go to their offices, chat on social sites, or call them to evaluate their response to your queries.
The first impression should help you rank their customer support and see if that’s how you’d want to be treated once you become a customer.
Step 6: Selecting the Preferred Cable TV Company
Picking the right cable service provider should be easy if you follow the steps above. Consider going with someone who offers the best rates in terms of quality, affordability, and excellent customer service. More importantly, don’t trade off the price for the quality.
Keep these six tips in mind before you sign up for cheap cable TV for low-income families. You can rest assured that you’ve eliminated the hassle of switching providers every other time. Besides, you’ll satisfy your entertainment desires without paying a premium.
The 10 Best Cheap Cable TV Providers for Low Income Families
- Dish TV
Current AT&T customers can confirm the mobile giant’s effort in attracting and retaining senior customers. They have several programs and plans targeting older clients, such as the Senior Nation cellphone plan.
But they don’t have a dedicated cable TV plan for seniors, they do offer low-cost internet to households in the SNAP program. The AT&T Access initiative gives up to 10 Mbps fast-internet for live TV streaming and more. And it only goes for $10 a month.
Moreover, they offer a discount of $10 to bundle a lower-speed data plan with TV services. It makes an excellent choice if you want cheap cable TV for low-income individuals. For example, the DirectTV package with a DVR unit, movies, and live TV goes for $35 every month.
Combining that plan with their cheapest internet option at $29 should leave you paying $54 every month. Besides, the brand rides on providing simple, uncomplicated products. They offer all the equipment for the package you want along with cost-free activation and no hidden charges.
RCN cable TV and internet packages are highly-recommended for low-income families that can manage modest monthly compensation. Enjoy over 70 channels with up to 250 Mbps internet speeds starting at $29.99 per month.
Rates, channel count, and internet speed often vary by region. Be sure to confirm the level of services in your area before you join.
It is one of the best options in the market if you want an affordable cable, phone, and internet plans’ provider. Optimum is available in over 50% of the nation, although you’ll want to confirm if they offer services in your area.
The Optimum Core TV starts at $59.99 a month and delivers more than 220 networks. The best thing about this company is that they don’t have hidden charges and they have no internet throttling no matter your package. Besides, all their services are no-contract plans.
You don’t have to go to antennas or sophisticated TV boxes to watch TV. Many TV channels are providing free streaming apps to catch your latest programs online. And CenturyLink Internet Basics package at $9.95 a month makes it possible.
The 1.5 Mbps internet is among the most widely available in the country, including remote areas. You must meet the Lifeline program requirements to qualify for the subsidized internet plan.
If you’re in the market for more than just basic programs, consider the Suddenlink cable TV plan for low-income individuals. Value TV and internet plan do not have long-term contracts. With over 200 channels and 100 Mbps max internet connection, $54.99 isn’t too much an ask.
Being a small cable company, they may lack a presence in some areas. Make sure you confirm with their coverage area map to see if they’re available in your neighborhood.
This little-known company provides cable TV and internet services throughout the South and Midwest. Mediacom has been varying between being the seventh and fifth-largest media operator in the US. Due to lower marketplace penetration, they’ve been offering cheaper packages than their rivals.
The family TV and Internet bundle are one of their most competitive packages going for $99.98 monthly. It delivers over 170 channels with 75 of them in HD quality. Moreover, this plan comes with all On-Demand programming.
Save more on your cable bills by enrolling in Mediacom’s Connect2Compete program. The company partners with EveryoneOn to deliver affordable internet to learners in the NSLP. The program offers a 10 Mbps internet connection plus free Wi-Fi modem for only $9.95 per month.
Overall, Mediacom is an excellent choice if you want to combine cable TV and the internet without paying a premium.
7. Dish TV
Low-income citizens, seniors, and persons trying to find a low-cost cable TV plan within their budget should check out Dish TV. If you can afford a little more than $50 every month, this company lends affordable TV packages from $59.99.
America Top 120 TV plan delivers over 190 popular networks. And that’s not everything. Deserving clients can secure even more discounts by proving their case to Dish TV.
It is a great option if you want deals on cable tv for low-income seniors. Previously known as Time Warner Cable, Charter Spectrum is the only cable company that advertises its senior markdowns on the AARP site. While they don’t give full details, they ask their senior clients to call in for info on how to get the discounts.
Spectrum’s cable TV services can be had for as low as $44.99 a month for over 200 channels with free HD. You can get one free month of cable TV per year for signing up as a senior customer. And in some regions, they give discounts through the Lifeline program.
To attract new subscribers, they have a special program offering $500 to prospective clients for buying out of their existing contract.
However, if you need the best cheap cable TV for low-income families, consider Spectrum’s Internet Assist. This in-house assistance program gives you up to 30 Mbps internet speeds with unlimited data.
The best part is that there’s no term agreement and you’ll only pay $14.99 every month. However, the criteria include participation in the SSI if you’re aged 65 or older, the National School Lunch Program, or Community National Eligibility Provision of the former.
Comcast Xfinity senior clientele can benefit through a senior-dedicated learning program known as Internet Essentials. This initiative is available on a trial basis in different US markets, covering top cities like Philadelphia, Houston, Boston, and Seattle. Eligibility starts from 62 years, including participation in any public assistance program.
Joining the Internet Essentials initiative guarantees you low-cost, 15 Mbps home internet for only $9.95 every month. You can stream live TV in SD with those speeds. And that’s not all. You also get the chance to buy a PC for $149.99.
And in other markets, Xfinity provides a 10% discount on their basic cable package to senior citizens. Popular networks on this basic tier cable plan include; Telemundo, NBC, CBS, Fox, and a host of local news channels.
Do you find Spectrum price-point a bit expensive or Xfinity is not in your area? There are plenty of choices in the marketplace. Cox provides an in-house low-cost internet package for eligible customers.
As part of the Connect2Compete initiative, this package targets K-12 learners. It helps them explore their potential by offering internet access to less fortunate families.
The Cox low-cost internet program can be had for just $9.95 per month. The whole family can use this service to follow free live TV streaming options. Eligible families must be enrolled in one of the federal assistance programs. Also, the family must have at least one kid in kindergarten or between grades 1 and 12.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
RCN and Comcast Xfinity have the cheapest cable service starting at $29.99 and $34.99 respectively.
You can get internet at $10 per month through one of the Connect2Compete internet providers. Another way is to qualify for cheap cable TV and internet for low-income groups, often costing a little under $10. The government’s Lifeline program also provides cost-free internet to eligible families and individuals.
Yes, the basic cable can be had without paying. Purchasing an HDTV antenna will allow you to get free basic cable television. Most consumers are unaware of the Broadcast Digital TV platform. You can receive major networks’ signals like Fox, PBS, NBC, and ABC on that platform.
One way to get TV if you don’t want to pay for cable is to buy an HDTV antenna. It will let you watch local networks over the Broadcast Digital TV platform. You can also watch free TV by streaming on the internet. Besides, some websites will give you a collection of free online TV channels you can watch without paying. But you’ll need an internet connection to use these services.
There are tons of options if you’re planning to cut the cord. Online streaming apps like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Hulu are an excellent alternative. Getting an HDTV antenna will also give you a reliable option, especially for accessing major networks without paying. You should also consider buying an internet plan that will allow you to watch free TV online.
The Wrap Up
Avoid buying cable TV or internet plans that offer more than what you require. However, you don’t have to do away with cable TV entirely in order to save. Consider bundling or opting for fewer channels to secure the best affordable entertainment for your needs.
Many of the cable tv for low income people in our roundup are budget deals that can give you a cheap alternative. From AT&T to Cox, you can get a budget-friendly option to suit your needs.