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A lack of easily accessible cheap internet in Chicago is wreaking havoc on the city and exacerbating the city’s digital divide. This divide, however, isn’t just about economic disparities; it’s about access to the digital world—a world that promises education, opportunity, and connection. 

At Human-I-T, we understand that in this era, being disconnected means more than missing out on convenience; it means being sidelined from essential services, educational resources, and the job market. Our mission is rooted in the belief that technology access is a fundamental right, not a privilege reserved for the few.

That’s why we wrote this blog to shed light on the providers who are trying to make our vision a reality by offering cheap internet in Chicago.

Table of Contents

Understanding the Digital Divide in Chicago

The State of Internet Access in Chicago

In the heart of Chicago, a city renowned for its towering skyscrapers and vibrant cultural scene, lies a less visible divide that affects approximately 240,000 residents living in “deep poverty,” with incomes at or below $19 a day. This economic reality directly correlates with internet access disparities, where 17.2% of Chicago residents live below the federal poverty line, and over half of these individuals face the additional challenge of digital exclusion. 

The digital divide in Chicago is a reflection of deeper socio economic divides. In 2020, more than 197,000 Chicago households were disconnected, lacking either internet access or the devices necessary to go online. This disconnection disproportionately impacts Black and Latino communities, highlighting a stark digital equity gap that mirrors and exacerbates existing racial and economic inequalities.

Barriers to Digital Inclusion in Chicago

The hurdles to achieving digital inclusion in Chicago are multifaceted. Affordability stands as a significant barrier, with the cost of internet service and digital devices out of reach for many low-income families. This issue is compounded by infrastructure limitations, particularly in underserved neighborhoods where broadband access is either unavailable or unreliable. 

The challenge extends beyond physical access to include digital literacy gaps. Without the necessary skills to navigate online platforms, even those with potential access to digital resources find themselves at a disadvantage, unable to leverage the internet for education, employment, and essential services. The pandemic has demonstrated this reality, revealing how crucial digital access is for public health, education, and economic participation. 

As we consider the landscape of digital equity in Chicago, it’s clear that bridging this divide requires efforts that go beyond simply providing internet access. It demands an understanding of the nuanced needs of Chicago’s diverse communities and a commitment to developing solutions that address both the infrastructural and educational components of digital inclusion.

The Importance of Affordable Internet in Achieving Digital Equity

Defining Digital Equity and Its Significance in Chicago

Digital equity is foundational to fostering social equity, as it addresses the critical need for all individuals, regardless of their economic status, to have the resources to connect, learn, and participate in the digital world. Access to cheap internet in Chicago would catalyze transformative changes across the city’s diverse communities by democratizing access to education, employment opportunities, and crucial social services.

Analyzing Affordable Internet Plans in Chicago

While several of Chicago’s best internet plans offer a semblance of affordability, a deeper analysis reveals the complexities and gaps that still exist.


AT&T’s fiber plans, while offering robust speeds, may not be the most accessible for low-income families due to their higher starting price.

  • Pros: Reliable, high-speed fiber internet is ideal for households with multiple users and devices.
  • Cons: The starting price of $55/mo can be prohibitive for families prioritizing basic needs over internet service.
  • Coverage: While extensive, fiber’s limited availability in economically disadvantaged areas can exacerbate the digital divide.
  • Setup: Potential setup fees could add an upfront cost barrier.
  • Speed: High speeds are beneficial for educational and employment opportunities but may not justify the cost for families with limited internet needs.
  • Price Ranges: The lack of plans under $55/mo limits accessibility for those most in need of affordable options.


Xfinity offers the fastest speeds, but its affordability is nuanced when considering the long-term costs for low-income families.

  • Pros: Fast internet supports online learning and remote work, crucial for economic mobility.
  • Cons: After the first year, prices increase, potentially surprising families with tighter budgets.
  • Coverage: Broad, but the best speeds might not be available in all neighborhoods, particularly in underserved areas.
  • Setup: Installation fees and required equipment rentals can add unexpected costs.
  • Speed: While beneficial, the necessity of ultra-high speeds may be less for families primarily concerned with basic internet access.
  • Price Ranges: Initial affordability may be offset by subsequent price hikes and hidden fees, challenging budgeting efforts.


Astound’s competitive pricing structure offers a glimmer of hope but comes with its own set of limitations.

  • Pros: No data caps and lower starting prices cater to families mindful of internet costs.
  • Cons: Limited availability restricts access to only certain Chicago neighborhoods, often leaving out low-income areas.
  • Coverage: A smaller footprint means many families might not have access to these more affordable plans.
  • Setup: While more accessible, the quality of customer service and installation experiences can vary.
  • Speed: Adequate for basic usage, but higher-speed plans necessary for comprehensive online engagement remain priced higher.
  • Price Ranges: Affordability is a strong suit, yet the lack of widespread availability diminishes its impact on bridging the digital divide.

T-Mobile 5G Home Internet

T-Mobile’s straightforward pricing model is appealing, yet its performance consistency is a concern for families dependent on reliable access.

  • Pros: A single, flat-rate plan eliminates confusion and aids in financial planning.
  • Cons: Variable speeds and dependency on proximity to a T-Mobile tower can result in inconsistent service, impacting online education and work.
  • Coverage: While expanding, 5G’s reach in low-income neighborhoods may be limited, affecting accessibility.
  • Setup: Easy and user-friendly, offering a potential advantage for families without the means to pay for professional installation.
  • Speed: The erratic nature of speeds might not meet the needs of households where consistent, reliable internet is crucial for daily activities.
  • Price Ranges: At $50/mo, it’s a middle-ground option; however, the lack of speed guarantees may deter those for whom every dollar counts.

Verizon 5G Home Internet

Verizon offers a competitive option with its 5G home internet, but its benefits are tempered by coverage limitations.

  • Pros: No data caps and straightforward pricing benefit families looking for predictable monthly bills.
  • Cons: The quality and speed of the internet service heavily depend on the home’s location relative to Verizon’s infrastructure.
  • Coverage: Limited to areas with strong 5G signals, which may not include all low-income neighborhoods.
  • Setup: Self-setup is advantageous, but the effectiveness of the connection is a gamble.
  • Speed: Offers a range that could support various online needs if the signal strength is adequate.
  • Price Ranges: While the plan is reasonably priced, the potential inconsistency in service may not fully meet the needs of low-income families seeking dependable internet access.

While there are seemingly affordable internet options available in Chicago, the variability in coverage, speed consistency, and the presence of additional fees highlight the need for more tailored solutions. These solutions must address the price, reliability, accessibility, and customer support necessary to truly bridge the digital divide for low-income families in Chicago. Clearly, the pursuit of digital equity demands a multifaceted, comprehensive approach.

Human-I-T’s Role in Providing Cheap Internet in Chicago

Who is Human-I-T?

Human-I-T is a beacon of progress in the digital equity landscape, with a mission deeply rooted in the belief that technology access is a right, not a privilege. Born from a vision to bridge the digital divide, Human-I-T has transformed lives by repurposing technology, connecting underserved communities to the digital world, and promoting environmental sustainability. Our achievements span nationwide, where we’ve turned digital access disparities into opportunities for growth, learning, and connection.

Human-I-T’s Offer for Cheap Internet in Chicago

Understanding the financial constraints of low-income households, we offer cheap internet in Chicago for a price of just $15 per month. Period. This initiative is designed to provide a cost-effective alternative to conventional ISP offerings, making digital access more attainable for everyone.

In collaboration with leading organizations, we also offer a range of educational programs aimed at boosting digital literacy across all demographics. From beginners to those looking to refine their skills, our programs cater to various age groups and skill levels. Our collaboration with Cisco introduces individuals to the digital world, starting with the basics, through our free Digital Literacy Program.

To complement our affordable internet service, Human-I-T’s online store offers a selection of high-end new and refurbished devices at competitive prices. This initiative makes technology more accessible, allowing individuals and families to find the devices they need to succeed in today’s digital world. From laptops for students to smartphones for staying in touch, our store ensures that quality technology is affordable for those who need it most.

Human-I-T’s commitment to digital inclusion extends to personalized technical support, addressing a wide range of technical issues and providing guidance on using digital devices and online resources. Available in both Spanish and English, our support services are tailored to overcome language barriers and ensure comprehensive digital empowerment.

A Sustainable Solution for Delivering Cheap Internet in Chicago

Gaining access to our services is straightforward. By filling out our form below, individuals can find guidance on selecting services that best fit their needs, ensuring a seamless transition to digital connectivity.

You can also become a Gold Member through our online store to enjoy enhanced benefits and bigger discounts. This ensures that our services are not just available but also accessible to the most vulnerable segments of our community.

As we’ve explored, while there is cheap internet in Chicago, the reality of their affordability for low-income families presents a significant challenge. This underscores the vital role of Human-I-T in bridging the digital divide, offering not just access but truly affordable solutions and comprehensive support. 

If you or someone you know needs to find cheap internet in Chicago, please fill out the form below!

Liz Cooper

About Liz Cooper