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The Ultimate Military Relocation Guide: Unlocking Internet and Home Service Savings

Expect as much out of your home services as the military expects from you.

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.

Internet Discounts for Military Members and Veterans

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.

Lifeline Program for Qualifying Active Duty Military and Veterans

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:

  1. Begin the application process and submit your completed application on the Lifeline National Verifier page. (You may also manually print your application and mail it to the address listed on the site.)
  2. Once you receive approval, choose an internet or mobile provider within 90 days to get up to $9.25 off per month on phone, internet, or bundled services.

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.

Affordable Connectivity Program for Active Duty Military and Veterans

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: 

  1. Visit the Affordable Connectivity Program page for household qualification guidelines.
  2. Complete the application process found on the program page by submitting proof of eligibility.
  3. Find a participating internet provider in your new location to begin receiving discounted internet service.

Here are just a few of the well-known internet providers that participate in the Lifeline and ACP discount programs for low-income individuals:

Participating Lifeline and ACP Internet Providers

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.

Best Internet Services for Military Members

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 Extras Military Discount
AT&T $55 per month 5 Gbps No Unlimited $150 Visa Reward Card No
CenturyLink $50 per month 940 Mbps No Unlimited 12 months of EPIX NOW No
Cox $29.99 per month 1 Gbps Yes 1.25 TB $20 monthly discount Yes
MetroNet $39.95 per month 1 Gbps No Unlimited Free Whole-Home Wi-Fi No
Optimum $45 per month 1 Gbps No Unlimited $200 Visa Reward Card, free installation, $10 off first month, and one free year of HBO Max No
Rise Broadband $25 per month 50 Mbps Optional 250 GB to Unlimited Free Installation Yes
Spectrum $49.99 per month 1 Gbps No Unlimited N/A No
T-Mobile $50 per month 115 Mbps No Unlimited First month free and free Paramount+ No
Verizon Fios $39.99 per month 940 Mbps No Unlimited Free 12 months of Disney Bundle, $300 off Stream TV Soundbar, and 2 TB of Verizon Cloud storage Yes
Windstream $39.99 per month 1 Gbps No Unlimited 3 months free trial and $100 online credit No
Xfinity $39.99 per month 3 Gbps Optional 1.2 TB for cable and Unlimited for Fiber Free Flex 4K Streaming TV box Yes

Best TV Services for Military Members

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

Best Internet Bundles for Military Personnel

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 Extras Military discount
AT&T $104.99 per month Internet and TV $150 Visa Reward Card No
Cox $109.99 per month Internet, TV, smart home services, and phone $20 monthly discount Yes
Optimum $54.99 per month Internet, TV, and phone $200 Visa Reward Card, free installation, $10 off first month, and one free year of HBO Max No
Spectrum $99.98 per month Internet, TV, and phone N/A No
Xfinity $89.99 per month Internet, TV, phone, and home security Free Flex 4K Streaming TV box Yes

Utility Providers for Military Service Members

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:

  • Electricity: $117 per month
  • Natural gas: $66 per month
  • Water: $47 per month
  • Cell phone service: $115 per month
  • Internet service: $64 per month

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:

Check Availability by Zip Code

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.

Free and Discounted Laptops for Military Members

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
ConnectHomeUSA $199 $150 N/A
PCs for People $100 or above N/A Free of cost
Tech for Troops Free N/A Free

Digital Literacy Training Resources for Veterans 

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:

  • Code Platoon - Code Platoon is a fully online technological educational resource offering coding scholarships for veterans and spouses in different qualifying categories.
  • ConnectHomeUSA - In addition to providing discounted laptops and desktop computers, ConnectHomeUSA offers a knowledge center including digital literacy resources to veterans and survivor benefits recipients who qualify.
  • PCs for People - PCs for People supplies free desktops, affordable laptops, and digital learning resources to qualifying military veterans and low-income individuals. 
  • Tech for Troops - Computer literacy training for veterans and transitioning active-duty personnel is one of the services Tech for Troops provides in addition to free laptops and desktop computers.
  • The American Legion - With a membership in The American Legion, you’ll gain access to digital literacy programs, plus a 10 percent discount on Dell Computers and member savings at Office Depot and Office Max.

Additional Military Relocation Resources

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:

Frequently Asked Questions About Military Relocation, Internet, and Utilities

What internet providers offer military discounts?

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.

How do I know what internet providers are at my next duty station?

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:

Check Availability by Zip Code

Will my internet provider charge early termination fees (ETFs) if I have to PCS or TDY before my contract is up?

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).

How can I get free or discounted internet for military service personnel?

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.

How soon after I get my orders and locate housing should I begin ordering internet and home services?

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.

Do I have to pay for utilities if I'm moving to on-base housing?

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.