Skip to main content

For many in the disabled community, the struggle to access affordable, high-speed internet is a daily challenge, one that extends beyond mere inconvenience to a fundamental issue of equity and inclusion. This divide doesn’t just preclude them from accessing high-speed internet; it causes them to miss out on opportunities in education, employment, and social engagement. 

Access to the internet – a gateway to the global community – should be a right, not a privilege. Yet, economic and accessibility barriers continue to create significant hurdles, especially for those who are disabled. These challenges are not insurmountable, but they require a dedicated approach, one that understands the unique needs and potential of every individual. 

In this context, the role of organizations who are committed to digital inclusion becomes crucial. They are not just providing internet for disabled people; they are opening doors to a world of possibilities, ensuring that disability does not dictate digital access and that everyone has the opportunity to connect, learn, and grow in our interconnected world.

Table of Contents

How Disabled People are Affected by the Digital Divide

The digital divide’s impact on the disabled population in the United States is startlingly significant. Data from the Urban Institute reveals that in areas with higher rates of disability insurance claims, there’s a corresponding decrease in internet access. This trend is not confined to remote areas; it’s prevalent in urban communities as well. 

A Pew Research Center survey underscores this, showing that only 62% of adults with disabilities own a desktop or laptop computer, compared to 81% of those without disabilities. Furthermore, individuals with disabilities are three times more likely to never go online – period. Think about that fact and what that means for these individuals who are already at a unique disadvantage for accessing key (sometimes lifesaving) resources. 

The inability of disabled individuals to secure internet access is starkly influenced by underlying socioeconomic inequity. The median annual income for people with disabilities is significantly lower, at approximately $28,000, than for those without, approximately $40,000, making the cost of internet access a substantial burden. Even more so for women with disabilities who already earn less than men. Furthermore, 26% of adults with disabilities live in poverty, compared to 11% of those without disabilities, exacerbating the difficulty in affording internet services.

Inaccessible websites, which are a significant barrier, contribute to this challenge. A staggering 97.4% of the top one million websites fail to meet basic Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, making them difficult or impossible for many with disabilities to use even if they could get online. This is just one specific example of how inaccessibility limits educational and professional opportunities and affects social inclusion. The internet’s role in fostering social connections and community engagement is critical, yet without access, many individuals with disabilities face isolation and exclusion from the digital community.

In this context, the need for accessible and affordable internet solutions becomes not just a matter of connectivity but a fundamental issue of equity and inclusion. As we explore the available internet options for people with disabilities, it’s crucial to address these challenges head-on, recognizing that digital access is increasingly synonymous with opportunity in today’s society.

As we move forward, it’s essential to recognize that addressing these economic and accessibility barriers is crucial in the journey towards digital equity. Let’s explore the range of internet options available for people with disabilities, highlighting the need for solutions that are both affordable and accessible.

Exploring the Best Options for Cheap Internet for Disabled People

Several internet service providers (ISPs) and programs offer specialized plans aimed at enhancing the accessibility and affordability of their options for internet for disabled people. Here, we explore these options, weighing their advantages and drawbacks.

1. Internet Essentials from Comcast

Pros: Internet Essentials offers a low-cost internet service at $9.95 per month, providing a viable option for people with disabilities on a tight budget. The program includes a free Wi-Fi router and options for low-cost computers.

Cons: The service speed, at 50 Mbps, may not be sufficient for households with multiple users or for more bandwidth-intensive activities such as streaming high-definition videos. 

2. Spectrum Internet Assist

Pros: Spectrum’s program offers internet speeds up to 30 Mbps for $17.99 per month, including a free internet modem. It’s designed for low-income households and includes no data caps.

Cons: The program requires participation in certain assistance programs, which may limit eligibility for some individuals with disabilities.

3. Access from AT&T

Pros: This program combines affordability with flexibility, offering internet plans starting at $5 per month, scaling up to $10 based on the speed available in your area. It’s particularly beneficial for those disabled people in AT&T service areas.

Cons: The maximum speed offered is 10 Mbps, which may not be adequate for all online activities, especially in households with multiple devices.

4. Cox Connect2Compete

Pros: Aimed at families with K-12 students, this program offers discounted internet service for $9.95 per month. It includes free Wi-Fi modem rental, making it a cost-effective choice for eligible families.

Cons: The program is limited to families with children who participate in certain government assistance programs, which may not cover all individuals with disabilities.

5. Lifeline Program

Pros: This federal program provides a monthly discount of $9.25 on internet services for qualifying low-income consumers. It can be combined with other ISP offers for additional savings.

Cons: The discount may not cover the total cost of internet service, and eligibility requirements can be a barrier for some.

As we consider these options, it’s clear that while there are accessible and affordable internet solutions available, each comes with its own set of limitations. The key is finding a balance between cost, speed, and accessibility to meet individual needs. 

The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) and Free Internet for Disabled People

An Overview of ACP Benefits for Disabled People

The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) is a pivotal initiative in bridging the digital divide, particularly for the disabled community. This federal program, an evolution of the Emergency Broadband Benefit, is designed to make internet services more affordable for low-income households. 

Under ACP, eligible households can receive a discount of up to $30 per month towards broadband service, and those on qualifying Tribal lands can receive a discount of up to $75 per month. Additionally, the program offers a one-time discount of up to $100 for a laptop, tablet, or desktop computer, with a co-payment between $10 and $50.

For individuals with disabilities, the ACP’s impact extends beyond mere connectivity; it facilitates greater participation in the digital world for people with disabilities. This participation is crucial for accessing telehealth services, online learning, and remote work opportunities, areas where the disabled community has traditionally faced barriers. By alleviating some of the financial burdens associated with internet access, the ACP plays a critical role in leveling the playing field and fostering digital inclusion.

As we move forward, the importance of programs like the ACP in addressing the unique challenges faced by the disabled community cannot be overstated. Let’s look at Human-I-T’s specific ACP offer, highlighting how it aligns with the broader goal of enhancing digital accessibility and inclusion for all.

Human-I-T’s ACP Offer Provides Unlimited, Free Internet for Disabled People

Personalized Support and the ACP Application Journey

Human-I-T is one of a few providers who offers free internet to our ACP recipients.  Recognizing the unique challenges faced by the disabled community in getting online, Human-I-T offers a tailored approach to each applicant, ensuring they navigate the ACP application process with ease and understanding.

The journey begins with Human-I-T’s team of experts who provide one-on-one assistance, demystifying the ACP’s intricacies and guiding applicants through every step. This personalized support is crucial in ensuring that disabled individuals can overcome any hurdles they might face in the application process.

How to Apply for the ACP through Human-I-T

  1. Fill Out the Form Below
  2. Become a Free Human-I-T Gold Member: The second step involves creating an account with Human-I-T and selecting the “Gold Membership” option. This free membership offers disabled individuals an array of benefits to make the most of their digital tools and resources, including offering free digital literacy training and free on-demand technical support. 
  1. Upload Proof Income: Applicants are required to submit necessary documentation, including a valid photo ID, to verify their income status. This process is streamlined to ensure ease and efficiency.
  1. Get Free Internet: Once the verification process is complete within five business days, qualified individuals will be personally contacted by the Human-I-T team to sign up for free ACP internet and pick out a discounted device. 

By providing these comprehensive services, Human-I-T not only assists individuals in accessing the internet through the ACP, but also ensures they are equipped with the skills and tools to make the most of their digital experience. 

This holistic approach underscores our commitment to digital equity and inclusion, particularly for the disabled community, ensuring they are not left behind in our increasingly connected world.

If you or someone you know is disabled and unable to access affordable, high-speed internet, please have them fill out this form below so we can help them unlock their full potential online. 

Liz Cooper

About Liz Cooper