InMyArea.com earns commissions from some of the providers we list on our site. Learn more  

Guide For Military And Veterans: Programs For Low-Cost Internet, Mobile Plans, And Tech

Updated:
Discover which internet service providers, mobile phone carriers, and organizations help U.S. military members and veterans get low-cost internet and tech.

American military members and veterans serve regular citizens on the frontlines every day, but when they arrive home, sometimes they need help themselves. Recent U.S. census numbers indicate that at least 1.2 million military veterans and 4 percent of active-duty military members are on the federal government’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Furthermore, the average base salary for an E-4 with four years of service is $32,562, putting them in the category of low-income individuals.

We believe all our military service members, whether they’re active or retired, should have equitable access to affordable home services and devices they need to stay connected. We assembled the following guide to help military members and veterans find low-cost and discounted internet access, mobile plans, and technology such as computers, laptops, and tablets. Here, we’ll cover the following topics:

How Active Military and Veterans Can Obtain Discounted Internet

Many businesses do their part to support service members by offering substantial discounts, and internet service providers are no exception. Providers like Rise Broadband, Verizon, and Xfinity offer former and active-duty military personnel monthly discounts or special pricing on their internet service. The following table provides some of the most popular internet providers offering discounted internet access to military members.

Internet Providers Offering Special Military Pricing  

Provider

Starting Price

Download Speeds (up to)

Contracts

Data Caps

Extras

Rise Broadband

$29.95 per month

50 Mbps

No

250 GB

10% off discount

Verizon Fios

$34.99 per month

940 Mbps

No

No

Up $15 off discount

Xfinity Internet

$19.99 per month

1 Gbps

Optional

1.2 TB

$100 Visa Rewards Card and $25 credit

The Affordable Connectivity Program for Veterans and Military Members

The Federal Communications Commission replaced the Emergency Broadband Benefit  program with the Affordable Connectivity Program. This has extended assistance for citizens, military members, and veterans who need affordable internet service and devices for work, school, and health care. Here’s what it provides to eligible households:

  • $30 per month off broadband service, up to $75 per month off for households on qualifying Tribal lands
  • One-time discount of $100 off a laptop, desktop, or tablet (if you contribute $10 to $50 toward the price)

Qualifying households can claim both of these discounts, but only one of each.

How to Qualify for the Affordable Connectivity Program

To qualify for ACP, you must be an active-duty military member or a veteran who either lives on an income that’s at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level or participates in a federal assistance program such as SNAP or Medicaid. You’re also eligible if you’re a participant of the Veterans and Survivors Pension Benefit program. Here’s how you can apply for the ACP discount on your internet:

  1. Check your status. On the Universal Service Administrative Company website, you can check the eligibility list to ensure you qualify for the program.
  2. Apply for the program. Once you confirm your eligibility, use the online USAC application or mail in your application to the USAC with documents showing your necessity.
  3. Find a broadband internet provider. Search in your area for internet providers that partner with the ACP to offer low-cost internet solutions to military members and veterans. After signing up for service, you will have the discount applied to your first bill.

Since the ACP is long term, you don’t need to worry about your discounts expiring. We do recommend checking your application status as often as possible so you can use your discounts right away.

The Lifeline Program for Veterans and Military Members

While the ACP is a long-term measure for helping veterans and military members get access to internet and devices, the FCC Lifeline program is a permanent program that offers a similar service. Subscribers who qualify for the Lifeline program can get $9.25 off their monthly internet bill or $5.25 per month off their phone bill. While this may not seem like much, it can definitely add up over a year’s time and take a significant chunk out of a low-tier internet or mobile plan.

How Veterans and Military Members Can Qualify for FCC Lifeline Program

Much like the ACP, the Lifeline program bases your eligibility on your economic status or enrollment in various federal assistance programs, such as Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income, Federal Public Housing Assistance, Veterans and Survivors Pension Benefit, or SNAP. Applicants may also qualify if their income is less than 135 percent of the federal poverty level. The following table outlines qualifications based on income and household size.

Lifeline Income Guidelines

Household size

Contiguous U.S.

Alaska

Hawaii

1

$17,388 or less

$21,722 or less

$20,007 or less

2

$23,517 or less

$29,390 or less

$27,054 or less

3

$29,646 or less

$37,058 or less

$34,101 or less

4

$35,775 or less

$44,726 or less

$41,148 or less

5

$41,904 or less

$52,394 or less

$48,195 or less

6

$48,033 or less

$60,062 or less

$55,242 or less

7

$54,162 or less

$67,730 or less

$62,289 or less

8

$60,291 or less

$75,398 or less

$69,336 or less

Note: Only one Lifeline account is allowed per household.

How Veterans and Military Members Can Apply for Lifeline

If you already qualify for a Veterans and Survivors Benefit Pension or similar qualifying programs, you’re eligible for the Lifeline discount. Enrolling in the program is easy and takes just a few minutes. Follow these steps to start getting your Lifeline discount on internet or mobile phone plans:

  1. Apply for the Lifeline program. Visit the Lifeline National Verifier page to find your state and begin the application process. Fill out your contact information and submit your documentation showing your eligibility. You may also print off your application from the website and submit it to the supplied address.
  2. Pick your internet or mobile provider. Once approved, you have 90 days to pick your internet or mobile provider. The USAC search tool is a good way to find these providers locally. If you have any questions, you can call 800-234-9473.   

Lifeline Internet Provider Partners

Several internet providers partner with the Lifeline program to offer fast internet at discounted prices. This table shows many of our favorite internet providers that work with customers through the Lifeline program:

Provider

Starting price 

Download speeds (up to)

Data caps

Contracts

AT&T

$35 per month

1 Gbps

Unlimited

No

Frontier

$19.99 per month

1 Gbps

Unlimited

No

MetroNet

$49.95 per month

1 Gbps

Unlimited

No

Verizon

$39.99 per month

1 Gbps

Unlimited

No

Windstream

$27 per month

1 Gbps

Unlimited

No

Xfinity

$9.95 per month

1 Gbps

1.2 TB

Optional

Mobile Phone Plans for Veterans and Active Military

While a home computer and a landline telephone can get you far, access to an affordable cell phone and mobile phone plan is essential to success. Thankfully, many cellular providers extend discounts to active or retired military personnel for their cell phone service. Here are the best wireless plans for military members:

Wireless Plan Discounts for Military Personnel

Wireless plan

Starting price (per line)

Talk

Text

Data

Contract

Extras

AT&T Unlimited Starter plan

$26.25 per month

Unlimited

Unlimited

Unlimited

No

Stadia Pro free for 6 months

T-Mobile Magenta Military plan

$25 per month

Unlimited

Unlimited

Unlimited

No

Free Netflix Basic and free smartphones for new lines

U.S. Cellular Everyday plan 

$40 per month

Unlimited

Unlimited

Unlimited

Yes

15% off your plan choice and one free night of Redbox per month

Verizon Start Unlimited plan

$30 per month

Unlimited

Unlimited

Unlimited

No

Discovery+ free for 12 months with Play More upgrade

Special Phone Programs for Military Personnel Outside of the U.S.

In addition to the plans listed above, some cell phone providers offer packages tailored to military personnel deployed overseas. Boost Mobile, for example, runs a Deployed Military Program that allows service members to keep their phone numbers while deployed overseas without paying any charges or reactivation fees. If you are interested in enrolling or have any questions, please call their customer service line at 866-402-7366.

Free Cell Phones and Calling Cards for Active-Duty Military

Several nonprofit organizations in the U.S. raise money to offer active-duty military members cell phones and calling cards with minutes for free. Cell Phones for Soldiers is one such program that refurbishes donated cell phones, smartphones, and tablets and then distributes them to U.S. military service members. They also collect donations and raise funds to give these military members domestic and internal minutes to stay connected to their loved ones. You can apply for this program through the Cell Phones for Soldiers Programs page by entering your contact information.

Technology Discounts for Military and Veterans

With technology constantly changing, it can be hard for military members to keep up with the latest technology and digital education between deployments. A reliable and affordable internet device like a computer or laptop is essential to staying connected while at home. Luckily, many organizations provide discounted devices and digital literacy training to active-duty and veteran personnel for little to no cost.

Organizations Offering Discounted Devices and Training to Military Members


Organization

Services

Eligible groups

Combat Veterans to Careers

  • Free desktops
  • Free laptops
  • Free tablets

Military veterans

ConnectHomeUSA

  • $150 tablets
  • $199 laptops
  • EveryoneOn Knowledge Center

Military veterans and survivors benefits recipients

PCs for People

  • Free desktop computers
  • $50 laptops
  • Digital learning resources

Military veterans

Tech for Troops

  • Free laptops
  • Free desktops
  • Veteran Improvement Basic Computer Literacy Training

Military veterans, National Guard, and transitioning active-duty members

The American Legion

  • 10% discount on Dell computers
  • Members-only discounts at Office Depot and OfficeMax
  • Online digital literacy programs

American Legion members

Additional Digital Resources for Veterans and Military

Free Career Resources for Veterans

After serving their time, many military members look to transition back into the swing of things by applying for civilian employment. However, finding jobs that align directly with military roles can be challenging. Below is a list of services helping veterans find careers once they make it back to the mainland.

  • LinkedIn Premium: Alongside ID.me, LinkedIn offers U.S. service members and veterans a free one-year subscription to LinkedIn Premium to assist in their new career transition.
  • Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes: Through this organization, qualifying service members can take classes related to business skills, enterprise learning, information technology, and administrative support.
  • Code Platoon: This organization runs coding bootcamp courses for veterans for a small fee when combined with their military scholarship offerings. Veterans can learn how to code and develop their careers in programming.

Free or Low-Cost Wi-Fi Hot Spots for Veterans and Military Members

Moving around often can make it difficult to have dedicated internet access at home for military members. However, Wi-Fi networks around cities are available to veterans and service members free of charge or at a discount. Listed below are some great places for military members and veterans to find free Wi-Fi.

  • Boingo: Offering Wi-Fi at over 2,000 buildings across 60 U.S. military locations worldwide, Boingo is one of the most popular hot spot options available to U.S. Armed Forces personnel. You can access over 1 million hot spots with the Boingo Unlimited Plan for just $14.99 per month.
  • United Service Organizations airport lounges: Any active-duty member (along with family members) can stop at a USO airport lounge between flights to take a break and hop on the Wi-Fi there free of charge. Use their Find a Center Tool to locate a USO near you or your future destinations.
  • The American Legion: The American Legion is a chapter-run organization with posts all over the country where service members and veterans can gather, socialize, receive support, and support others in the community. Many local American Legion chapters offer free Wi-Fi at their halls for members. To find an American Legion post in your area, use their Find a Post page. 
  • Veterans of Foreign Wars: Like the American Legion, the VFW is a chapter-run organization that provides community, support, and volunteerism to veterans and military personnel who have fought overseas. More and more VFW posts are incorporating Wi-Fi in their list of amenities available to members. Use the Find a VFW Post page to locate a VFW post near you. 
  • Public libraries: Many local libraries across the U.S. offer free internet hot spots or laptops with built-in Wi-Fi for everyone. Information about specific services and login procedures should be available on your public library’s website. 

Frequently Asked Questions About the Internet, Mobile Plans, and Tech for Military and Veterans

How do veterans and military members get free or reduced-cost internet?

Eligible veterans and U.S. service members can apply for free or reduced-cost internet through the ACP, Lifeline, or the internet providers themselves. While the ACP offers $30 off internet plan costs per month, internet provider plans geared toward qualifying individuals are also cheap. Internet Essentials from Comcast is available to any veteran receiving medical disability from the Department of Veterans Affairs, and it provides speeds up to 15 Mbps.

Which internet providers offer discounts to active-duty military and veterans? 

Qualifying active-duty military members and veterans can apply for direct discounts on their internet plans through internet providers such as AT&T, Frontier, Verizon, and Xfinity. All you have to do is show proof of your eligibility based on your income or enrollment in a federal government assistance program. These include Lifeline, Veterans and Survivors Benefits, Medicaid, SSDI, or SNAP.

Which wireless providers offer discounts to active-duty military and veterans?

AT&T, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular, and Verizon all offer discounts on cell phone services to military members. With the T-Mobile Magenta Military plan, you get unlimited talk, text, and data with no contract for just $25 per month. They’ll even throw in Netflix Basic and a free smartphone when you sign up for a new line. 

Where can military members and veterans get discounted laptops?

Military veterans and service members can get free or reduced-cost desktops, laptops, and tablets from organizations such as Combat Veterans to Careers, Tech for Troops, and the American Legion. Tech for Troops even offers computer literacy training for service members aiming to start a new career after their retirement.

Which organizations offer career services to veterans?

The Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes, Code Platoon, and LinkedIn are a few avenues that assist veterans with career transitions through digital learning resources, courses in computers, and job-hunting help. LinkedIn even offers a free year of LinkedIn Premium when you sign up through ID.me.

This page is for everyone who feels lost in the digital age. Understanding the internet and TV market is difficult considering how much it changes.
Here you’ll find information on the best ways to get internet and TV that can accommodate to your circumstances, answers to frequently asked questions about internet and TV technology and terminology and simple explanations to some of the most confusing topics related to internet and TV.