According to the United Service Organizations (USO), a member of the armed forces can expect to change duty stations at least six to 10 times throughout their career. These transitions mean purchasing new home services countless times along the way. In this guide, we’ll give you all the insider insights on internet and home service providers that offer new-customer incentives and military-friendly discounts.
Many military members live on limited income either because they are lower-enlisted (52 percent of enlisted personnel), support a family on one income (34 percent of military families), or both. With military pay allowances like BAH (Basic Allowance for Housing) and BAS (Basic Allowance for Subsistence), servicemen and women can benefit from federal and private programs that provide discounted internet to qualified subscribers. Two such programs, the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) and Lifeline, provide these discounts.
You may be eligible for a discount on internet or mobile phone service through Lifeline if you qualify for a Veterans and Survivors Benefit Pension or similar initiatives. You’ll need to complete a couple of simple steps to receive your discounted internet:
Did you know? The Department of Defense (DoD) relies on a privatized housing first perspective in managing housing for military housing across its thousands of CONUS (Continental U.S.) installations. This outlook means much more of the relocation process falls in your hands as the service member or service spouse.
What began as an internet cost relief program known as the Emergency Broadband Benefit during the COVID-19 pandemic has transitioned to a permanent program with a new name: the Affordable Connectivity Program or ACP. Among other qualifying applicants, military members or veterans who receive WIC, earn an income at or below 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines, or who fall under other eligibility criteria, may apply to receive $30 off their monthly internet bill ($75 off if living on qualifying tribal lands) and up to $100 for a laptop, tablet, or desktop computer with a $10 copayment. Applying for the program is simple:
Here are just a few of the well-known internet providers that participate in the Lifeline and ACP discount programs for low-income individuals:
|Provider||Starting Price||Download speeds (up to)||Data Caps||Contracts||Lifeline||ACP|
|AT&T||$55 per month||5 Gbps||Unlimited||No||Yes||Yes|
|MetroNet||$39.95 per month||1 Gbps||Unlimited||No||Yes||Yes|
|Verizon||$39.99 per month||940 Mbps||Unlimited||No||Yes||Yes|
|Windstream||$39.99 per month||1 Gbps||Unlimited||No||Yes||Yes|
|Xfinity||$39.99 per month||3 Gbps||1.2 TB||Optional||Yes||Yes|
Military Relocation Insights: Look for internet providers who won’t penalize you for leaving service agreements early when it’s time to PCS or TDY. For example, Cox waives early-termination fees (ETFs) for military personnel who receive orders to relocate outside the Cox service area.
You can expect to move once every two to three years via PCS (Permanent Change of Station) throughout your military service. You may also incur TDYs (Temporary Duty Travel) that could last up to six months here and there along the way. Making an intelligent decision about internet service at your next duty station is key to continuity for your family. Here’s a list of the best internet providers that offer the most savings, no matter where you are relocated:
|Provider||Starting Price||Download Speeds (up to)||Contracts||Data Caps||Military Discount|
|AT&T||$55 per month||5 Gbps||No||Unlimited||No|
|CenturyLink||$50 per month||940 Mbps||No||Unlimited||No|
|Cox||$29.99 per month||1 Gbps||Yes||1.25 TB||Yes|
|MetroNet||$39.95 per month||1 Gbps||No||Unlimited||No|
|Optimum||$45 per month||1 Gbps||No||Unlimited||No|
|Rise Broadband||$25 per month||50 Mbps||Optional||250 GB to Unlimited||Yes|
|Spectrum||$49.99 per month||1 Gbps||No||Unlimited||No|
|T-Mobile||$50 per month||115 Mbps||No||Unlimited||No|
|Verizon Fios||$39.99 per month||940 Mbps||No||Unlimited||Yes|
|Windstream||$39.99 per month||1 Gbps||No||Unlimited||No|
|Xfinity||$39.99 per month||3 Gbps||Optional||1.2 TB for cable and Unlimited for Fiber||Yes|
When relocating to a new duty station, a little bit of planning for a new TV service can help cut down the time between move-in and tune-in. Plus, getting TV services at your new location can make the transition easier for you and your family, as nobody has to miss out on their favorite shows after a big move. Here’s a list of the top TV providers you may want to consider when setting up future services at your new location:
|Provider||Starting price||Number of channels (up to)||DVR included||Military Discount?|
|Cox||$53 per month||250+||No||Yes|
|DIRECTV||$74.99 per month||330+||Yes, up to 200 hours||Yes|
|Spectrum||$49.99 per month||200+||No||No|
|Verizon||$65 per month||425+||Yes||Yes|
|Xfinity||$30 per month||200+||No||Yes|
When anticipating an upcoming relocation, the option to bundle services like internet, TV, phone, home security, and smart home services can save you time, money, and a lot of headaches. We always recommend bundling your home services whenever possible for the greatest savings. Here are some of our favorite internet bundle providers to choose from for your next PCS:
|Provider||Starting price||Bundle options||Military discount|
|AT&T||$104.99 per month||Internet and TV||No|
|Cox||$109.99 per month||Internet, TV, smart home services, and phone||Yes|
|Optimum||$54.99 per month||Internet, TV, and phone||No|
|Spectrum||$99.98 per month||Internet, TV, and phone||No|
|Xfinity||$89.99 per month||Internet, TV, phone, and home security||Yes|
Across America, the average person pays about $400 per month for basic utilities like gas and electricity. Selecting the utility providers who will give you the most value can make all the difference in savings, especially when relocating to your new area. You can expect the following average costs for your utilities and home services when you relocate:
Use the utility search tool below to determine what home service providers are at your next duty station. Simply type in the address of your relocation destination to discover your choices:
Did you know? Military personnel who live in high-quality housing have a 15 percent higher chance of remaining in the service than those who do not. Also, 63 percent of married service members live in privatized housing.
Since we complete so many tasks online now, computer access has become an absolute must for basic modern living. Many organizations across the country sponsor programs for qualifying veterans who could benefit from assistance getting online. Check out the following programs to get your discounted laptop, tablet, or desktop computer when you relocate:
|Program||Laptop Cost||Tablet Cost||Desktop Cost|
|Affordable Connectivity Program||Up to $100 off||Up to $100 off||Up to $100 off|
|Combat Veterans to Careers||Free||Free||Free|
|PCs for People||$100 or above||N/A||Free of cost|
|Tech for Troops||Free||N/A||Free|
As many service members transition out of the military and into the civilian workforce, particularly those whose MOS (Military Occupation Specialty) didn’t involve daily computer interaction, digital literacy becomes more critical for success. To fill the gap many veterans may face, organizations offer free technical skill training on topics like computer literacy, networking, and coding. Here are a few non-profit organizations focused on teaching veterans these new skills:
The DoD offers various moving assistance resources to military personnel experiencing PCS, including those found at the Military OneSource website. Additionally, here are some guides and resources we put together that you can use to prepare for your relocation to a new duty station or transition out of the military:
Four prominent internet providers: Rise Broadband, Verizon Fios, Xfinity, and Cox, offer military-only discounts to active-duty personnel and veterans that range from discounts, coupons, and bill credits.
You can use the InMyArea.com locator tool to find a comprehensive list of internet providers at your next duty station. Simply type in your address into the search bar below:
Luckily, most internet providers offer contract-free plans these days. Those who ask that you sign a contract should have language in the service agreement that indicates exceptions for service personnel regarding ETFs thanks to the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act of 1940 (SCRA).
The federal government has two programs that offer savings on internet service for qualifying low-income and other military personnel and veterans. The Lifeline program is a national program offered by the Federal Communications Commission, and the USAC offers the Affordable Connectivity Program.
We recommend you wait until you are two to three weeks out from your next duty station before you order utilities. This timeframe will give you plenty of room to set up an appointment for any necessary installation, and it also gives you enough time to order equipment delivered through the mail.
On-base housing that's managed privately may include utilities in the rent price, in which case the rent, including utilities, is taken out of your BAH. Otherwise, you'll need to pay for your electricity separately. Other home services such as internet and phone are typically not included.
Find the best plans & pricing for home services in the twenty most populous military cities in the United States of America.
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