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How to get free internet (at home and in public)

How to get free internet (at home and in public)

Away from home: Public (and business) Wi-Fi

Free Wi-Fi hotspots are common in urban areas. But even if you’re on a road trip, you’ll probably pass by many companies that offer free Wi-Fi.

Some cities offer public Wi-Fi networks, which may be available in parks and other public attractions. However, this is more common in larger cities than in smaller ones.

Many companies offer free Wi-Fi hotspots. Cafes like Starbucks and other smaller independent cafes are famous for this, but it doesn’t stop there. Fast food restaurants like McDonald’s and stores like that Walmart Yes And target They offer free Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi is not available in all stores, but it is available in many of them.

These are just examples of large chains that offer free Wi-Fi. Many other chains also offer free Wi-Fi. Free Wi-Fi is also common in many small businesses, including cafes, bars and restaurants.

We call these Wi-Fi hotspots «free,» but you generally expect to buy something when you visit a business with free Wi-Fi. However, if you need to have a quick coffee or buy something from the store, you can get free Wi-Fi while you’re at it.

There are a few risks when using public Wi-Fi, but it is much safer than before.

If you have internet at home: Wi-Fi of your ISP

Xfinity site on a smartphone in someone's pocket.

If you pay for an internet connection at home, your internet service provider most likely operates a network of Wi-Fi hotspots that you can connect to for free. They can give you pretty good coverage when you are away from home. Just log in to the hotspot and sign in with your ISP account.

E.g, AT&T, Comcast, Cox, Optimum Yes Spectrum these are just some of the ISPs that offer Wi-Fi hotspots. Comcast calls these access points «Xfinity WiFi.» Many internet service providers outside the US also offer similar networks. Check with your ISP to see what they offer.

Internet service providers in general turns people’s home routers into public Wi-Fi hotspots, so you will find that they are often widespread in the ISP coverage area. For example, if you have Comcast and it’s common in your city, you’ll probably see Xfinity WiFi hotspots everywhere. However, if you travel somewhere where Comcast does not offer services, you may not see them at all.

Assuming you have an internet connection at home and want internet access on the go, this is a great way to get free internet access when you are away from home.

Home: get free internet (or very cheap)

Wi-Fi icons superimposed on an urban landscape.

Free internet access at home is a bit more complicated. If you live in a dense urban area, you may be able to connect to an open public Wi-Fi network and use it as your primary Internet access. It’s probably not as fast as a dedicated internet connection at home, of course.

You can also try sharing someone else’s Wi-Fi connection. For example, if you have a good relationship with your neighbor, he may allow you to connect to their Wi-Fi. May.

You probably can’t get your own free internet connection. If you have a landline, it is still possible to use a free ISP such as NetZero, which will give you 10 hours a month of free browsing. But it’s full of ads, it’s going to be very slow (remember the internet in the ’90s?) And it requires a landline phone bill. This is far from a good option.

Many Internet service providers offer plans subsidized for persons in small income. Generally, you will need to qualify for a public assistance program to get this discounted price. For example, Comcast offers Internet Essentials Plan for $ 10 per month to those who qualify. It’s not free, but these plans offer the cheapest internet you can afford. Similar subsidized plans may be available in other countries.

While these plans are for low-income individuals and families, you may be able to reduce your monthly internet bill by lowering your plan to a lower rate or negotiating with your ISP. You may be able to save money buy your cable modem and avoid monthly rental fees.

Anywhere: how about free cellular access?

A man using a smartphone on a city street

Did you know that you can get free cellular internet anywhere in the US? Some mobile providers offer basic plans with some free data every month. You can use it on a smartphone or even get a Wi-Fi hotspot. They bet they can get money from you in a way after they’ve been customers.

E.g, FreedomPop offers 200 MB of free data each month. It’s not much, but it’s free. To get started, you’ll need to purchase a FreedomPop SIM card for your phone, tablet, or Wi-Fi hotspot.

Look, let’s be honest: 200 MB isn’t a lot of data at all, and a company like FreedomPop probably won’t have the best customer service. TIME Magazine wrote about his «shady» business practices in 2013 and we are not sure how much this has changed. We have not tested it ourselves and we cannot support it. But free is free and there is.

The FCC also offers a Lifeline support program which provides subsidized cellular services to low-income households. If you qualify, you may be able to get reduced or even free wireless data through the Lifeline program. E.g, Virgin Mobile Assurance Wireless announces a phone plan with free monthly data through Lifeline.

No computer needed: public libraries

People who use public computers in a library in New York

Public libraries are powerful resources that are often overlooked. Your local public library probably offers free public Wi-Fi that you can use for as long as you want, along with a comfortable place to stay.

Libraries generally offer computers that you can use. Depending on your library, there may be a time limit for using your computer, so anyone who wants to use a computer can do so.

Your local library probably offers many more. Blu-Rays, DVDs, CDs and maybe even video games are common. Many libraries also offer free access to online courses, newspapers, video streaming services, E-books and audio books.