Entirely Possible in 2019
believe it or not, there are Internet providers who offer free Internet. There are also apps that let you search for local free Wi-Fi. Also, there are non-profits that offer low cost Internet, thanks to their partnership with local Internet providers. Let’s take a look at all the options.
FreedomPop is a wireless and cellular internet service provider that offers voice, data and text plans starting at $0. The only out of pocket cost is the purchase of their (totally affordable) hotspot, which you can use to connect all your devices to the Web. Once you sign up to FreedomPop, they will ship you the hotspot within a few days.
There are a few limitations to this free plan. You are allowed to up to 500MB of data, 500 SMS and 200 talk minutes on the phone. If you want more “juice”, you can purchase the next plan which is only $9.99/mo and allows for 2GB (12 month contract). You can also get the 10GB/mo plan for just $19.99/mo if you sign up for 1 year.
Among the free-at-home Internet plans, FreedomPop is the fastest, although it is a bit slower than other “commercial” plans you find from like AT&T or Comcast. Be sure to check on EBates for coupons available that can be applied to your FreedomPop plan.
Unlimited Data Plans (From Your Cellphone)
Another cool option is to sign up for an unlimited data plan with your cell phone provider and use your cellphone as a hotspot for your home Internet.
This type of connection will not be ultra fast, though, so be aware. If you like to watch videos or play online games, this might not be the best option for you. Check with your current cellphone provider if your current plan TRULY allows for unlimited data. Even some “unlimited” plans have restrictions, so be sure to check.
For something faster yet still affordable, you can check out Juno. They have an “accelerated dial-up”, and plans start as low as $29.95/mo. The cool part about Juno is that they don’t tie you up with long term contracts.
If you were around in the late 1990’s, you might remember those NetZero commercial (watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=loAAeRKaRR8). Believe it or not, NetZero is still around. Their service is limited to 10hrs a month and they still use dial-up service, so you need a landline phone connection.
Netzero also offers paid plans (up to $79.95 for their Platinum, yikes!). In any case, make sure you read the fine print in every contract before agreeing and signing.
Public Places (Free Hotspots)
There is an app called WIFIMap that has more than 100 million free WIFI hotspots listed! The free version of the app lists all locations within a 2.5 miles range from where you are. This is a great app to use locally, or if you travel internationally and find yourself in an unexplored area and are not sure where the nearest cafe is.
Public libraries are a gold mine of free stuff. You can rent books, movies and yes you can get free Internet. The best part about public libraries is, you don’t have to buy anything to use their services. Heck, you don’t even need your own computer there. Most public libraries have desktops available to surf the Web.
National chain stores like Starbucks, PaneraBread and McDonald’s all offer free Wi-Fi. If you want to shave a few bucks off your monthly bills, this is a great way to save, albeit a bit inconvenient if you are lazy and don’t like to go out of the house. After the April 2018 Starbucks incident, Starbucks’s new policy allows for non paying customers to sit in their cafes even for non paying customers.
All Free ISPs
This is a public database that lets you find cheap or free internet access in your area. They have a list of local Internet Service Providers (ISPs) with access numbers. To find your closest option, enter the area code and select your state. You can find several options, especially if you live in a big metropolitan area.