You may be eligible for cheap or free, fast internet in SC. Here’s how to check and sign up
If you’re tired of how much you have to pay for internet service in South Carolina or cannot afford it to begin with, there may be ways to lower those costs through federal programs.
The President Joe Biden Administration recently announced it had secured commitments from 20 leading internet providers to offer low-cost, high-speed internet to eligible individuals across the U.S., including South Carolina.
The commitment is through the Affordable Connectivity Program, which helps ensure that households can afford high-speed internet needed for work, school, health care and other needs, according to a press release from the U.S. Department of the Treasury.
What the Biden program offers
Through participating internet service providers, eligible South Carolinians can get high-speed, quality internet for no more than $30 a month. Also, certain eligible families can get this high-speed internet at no cost.
Through the ACP, other eligible households already were offered $30 per month off their internet bills.
Here are the 20 internet service providers offering high-speed internet plans for $30 a month or less. If you apply your ACP benefit to one of these plans, your internet service will be free.
The offers are available only to new subscribers.
altaFiber (and Hawaiian Telcom)
Altice (Optimum and Suddenlink)
Spectrum (Charter Communications)*
Verizon (Fios only)
How to qualify for cheap internet
Below are the three ways to qualify for the ACP benefit. You are eligible if you meet any one of the three qualifications. To sign up for the Affordable Connectivity Program, click here.
Your income is at or below 200% of the federal poverty guidelines.
You or someone in your household participates in one of these programs:
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children
Supplemental Security Income
Federal Public Housing Assistance
Veterans Pension Survivors Benefit
Free and Reduced-Price School Lunch Program or School Breakfast Program
Federal Pell Grant
Certain tribal assistance programs
You meet the eligibility criteria for a participating broadband provider’s existing low-income internet program.
Other affordable internet programs for South Carolina
The U.S. Department of the Treasury recently announced the approval of broadband projects in South Carolina that will fund the connection of more than 31,000 homes and businesses to high-speed internet. The broadband projects will be paid for through the Capital Projects Fund, part of Biden’s American Rescue Plan, a treasury department press release states. A key part of the Capital Projects Fund to provide money for reliable, affordable broadband infrastructure across the U.S.
South Carolina will receive $185.8 million for broadband infrastructure through the fund. The 31,000 homes and businesses the money will help connect represent 23% of locations that still lack high-speed internet access, the press release states.
Specifically, South Carolina’s award will fund the state’s Main Street South Carolina grant program, a competitive program that provides internet to rural town centers and the surrounding residential areas.
“I am pleased to join the Biden-Harris Administration to announce this historic $185 million investment from the American Rescue Plan to bring affordable, high-speed internet service to an estimated 31,650 households in South Carolina,” Assistant Democratic Leader James E. Clyburn said in the press release. “In the words of a Tennessee farmer in the 1930s who assessed the impact of rural electrification, saying, ‘the next greatest thing to having the love of God in your heart is having electricity in your home,’ these funds creating the Main Street SC grant program are ‘the Next, Next Greatest Thing’ for rural America.”