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Just like ‘hacks’ for other things in life, people have figured out ways to access the internet for free. Worry not, these are completely safe and legal in nature and do not require you to break any laws. If you too want to cut down on your internet bills, simply because you don’t use it as much or just want to save a few bucks, pay close attention to the information that follows. Expectedly, you might have to cut a few corners and compromise on speed or device access, but if you’re getting it for free, there isn’t a whole lot of scope for complaining, is there?
The following are some of the legitimate ways in which you can get free internet:
FreedomPop is an easy way to access the internet free of cost. On availing their services, you receive a small, portable and wireless access point. You may use the device anytime and anywhere you want, for as long as you wish. Do remember, that FreedomPop offers free 500MB data every month, which is enough to meet basic requirements like email, bill payments and shopping. You can connect up to 10 devices to a single access point. FreedomPop does require you to submit a deposit depending on the device you choose. Beginning from $49 to $189, the deposit is refunded completely if you decide to return the device within a year of its usage. If you continue to use the access point after one year, you do not get a refund.
Furthermore, if 500MB seems inadequate, FreedomPop also offers some of the cheapest plans in the market, starting at just $20 per month. So even if you can’t get completely free internet, at least your monthly internet bill will definitely come down.
NetZero has been providing internet services since 1998 and is one of the oldest players in the game. Although its popularity has ebbed in the last few years, the company still offers affordable internet services. You can begin accessing the internet through NetZero by simply installing the software from a CD or by downloading it online. NetZero offers free access of 10 hours a month, which comes down to nearly 20 minutes a day. This is just enough to check your email or pay any pending bills and undertaking any other basic low-bandwidth task. That’s not all! NetZero offers a ‘no obligation’ policy, which essentially means that you are not obligated to use the services of the company as they do not make their customers sign any contract. NetZero also provides highly affordable paid plans, in case you want more than 10 hours of internet access every month.
Much like NetZero, Juno offers a mix of free and paid internet plans to its users. The free internet plan allows ten hours of internet access and hence, is also recommended for light users. Juno also offers its own email services and you can also use the same. Also, just like NetZero, Juno has a ‘no obligation’ policy in place.
Most internet service providers offer free dial-up access with their paid plans. Hence, if you do not mind the relatively slower speed, you should consider using dial-up access more often to enjoy free internet. However, you must be using at least one of their paid plans in order to benefit from this option. Call up your ISP today and find out!
If you are a resident of the USA, The Federal Communications Commission operates a program by the name of Connect to Compete. The program aims to ensure that internet connection is available to even those who cannot afford it. If you qualify for the program, you can get free or nearly free access to the internet. The program functions on the basis of the location of the applicant and the income level of the applicant.
You can visit the website for EveryoneOn (partners of Connect to Compete) and look up offers available in your region. Then you can get information on the same and assess if you qualify for the same or not. That’s not all. Since the target audience for the program is low-income families, cheap computers and devices are also available at select locations. If you are facing financial troubles and want to cut down on internet bills, you should definitely consider the program.
Most national chain stores offer their customers free Wi-Fi. McDonald’s, Starbucks, Whole Foods, Dunkin’ Donuts and Buffalo Wild Wings are some popular eating joints which give free internet to their customers. And since most of these restaurants allow you to be seated without even ordering anything from the menu — you can stay and use the internet for a reasonable amount of time. Even stores like Office Depot, Walmart, Target, Barnes and Noble and Best Buy offer the same facility to their customers.
However, be guarded. You might end up making an impulsive purchase when you enter these stores. Therefore, restrain from purchasing anything, unless you have planned to do so. But if you cannot resist the temptation, check if the local library in your area offers free Wi-Fi to its readers. If not, look for any standalone cafe or store which offers free Wi-Fi, to reduce the chances of unplanned splurging.
Many cities around the world offer Wi-Fi for both their residents and tourists. Most of these services are free of cost and are best for light usage. However, since a large number of people are likely to be using the internet simultaneously, the speed might be slow. Furthermore, depending on the location, some of these services might come with a limit on the bandwidth or the time of internet usage.
This is the last trick in the book. If everything fails, and your internet services have been disconnected because of unpaid bills, you need to ask your neighbor if they’d be willing to share their Wi-Fi with you. You can offer to do small tasks like washing their car or taking their pet on walks in order to show just how much you appreciate the same.
Furthermore, once you are doing relatively well and are in a position to pay your bills, you can offer to pay the internet bill every second month. This means that by paying just for half the bill, you get uninterrupted internet access all the time. Make sure you set up some ground rules before you get into this arrangement to avoid confusion and challenges at a later stage.
All said and done, getting to access the internet for free requires research and hard work. You need to be really inventive in order to eliminate or reduce your internet bill and still keep using the service. A word of caution for those who intend to use public networks — avoid entering personal and sensitive information and be sure of the website you are on. Using public networks requires you to exercise some other precautions as well. Some of them are as follows:
- Look for websites that begin with ‘https’ instead of ‘http’ as this ensures that the information transmitted is encrypted.
- Turn off the sharing mode in order to prevent unauthorized access to your device.
- If you can download documents and presentations to work on them offline — nothing like it.
- Be sure to turn off the Wi-Fi when not needed.
- Untick the option that allows your device to connect to the network ‘automatically’.
Getting free internet access is not impossible, but it is tougher than you would think it is. In today’s time, considering the host of utilities that the internet provides, it would be safe to assume that the internet has become a need and not just a want. Hence, you should not hesitate to avail quality, secure and speedy internet services. National players like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon have revolutionized the way we use the internet, but they are not inclusive of those who cannot afford to pay the monthly fee. If, for whatever reasons, you too cannot pay for your internet, there are ways to get it for free or at a minimal cost. As long as you are willing to tone down your usage and make peace with a slower speed, you don’t have to pay a dime to access the internet.