Though being a basic necessity at this time and age, internet plans are far from being cheap. But what would happen if you’d get free internet?
Most of us netizens cannot even imagine a day without the internet. “So you’re saying I cannot have internet access for a whole damn day?”
Nope, can’t do that!
Yeah, being connected is important to us!
But how much is it really costing you?
According to HowMuch.net, the average cost for a broadband internet connection in the United States is around $55.
Even though some employers provide a separate stipend for internet connectivity (say $60 or $50 a month),
There are also many who works from home (like myself) or have heavy internet usage habits in general or whose employers simply do not provide extra money for the internet or who just don’t agree with the high internet costs.
Moreover, if you’re spending around $55 a month for the internet, this can add up to $660 per year.
So if you want to save that $660 per year or if you’re unhappy with the internet bills that are slapped every month, you can try the below-mentioned alternatives to get that cost almost down to zero.
Is Free Internet Worth it?
I believe that if it’s useful and if it’s free, it’s probably worth it.
Even if saving a mere $50 amount a month might not seem that much but it all adds up in the end. How would you feel if you get an additional $660 at the end of the year? Pretty ecstatic, I assume?
Then why would you leave it on the table?
It is not about whether you can afford the internet plans or not, it is about how can you find cheaper (or apparently free) alternatives so that you can save as much as you can and use that money to something more important.
All you have to do is grab as many opportunities you find that will potentially save you money.
Can You Get Internet for Free Legally?
In short, Yes! Absolutely! I would probably not be discussing this if it was illegal in any form. In fact, there are many location-specific areas with free Wifi spots for public use.
For example, Coffee shops, the library, etc.
Moreover, many of the major internet service providers have certain low-cost internet programs. You might be able to get some free internet by bundling services, like TV and phone.
You also might be able to get some free internet deals if your mobile phone carrier has hotspots.
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Here are somewhat sneaky ways you can get access to free internet (In Public):
Free WiFi Locations with limited hours access
These places with limited hours access mean they are open only for a certain time during the day and hence you can only use their connection for as long as they are open.
These places are usually of much use to you because they are easy to find near your area compared to places where you can get access to the internet throughout the day.
Coffee shops and cafes:
Coffee shops are the most common place where you can find free WiFi. Just grab a coffee and you can browse the internet for a few hours if you want.
You can also bring your laptop, find yourself a seat and just complete all your internet related work.
Depending on your area, certain coffee shops may have better connection speed than others. For instance, most Starbucks has a speed of 51.16 Mbps (Source: Cnet)
Libraries: Libraries are not just a place to get books, libraries often have free internet services. So if you need to work in quiet, just issue a library card (which might be required to get access to the free internet), and you’re good to go.
Unlike coffee shops, you’re not obliged to buy anything to use their internet. Many libraries also come with their own internet-ready desktops for people to use, but that might come with a certain time limit, so use it well.
Libraries are perfect if you want to be in a quite/disturbance-free place.
Fast Food Restaurants & stores: Fast food restaurants like McDonald’s, Burger King, Taco Bell, etc and departmental stores like Target often provide high-speed internet services.
While you may not open just find a place and open a laptop to work at places like these, you can use your phone to check your socials, send mails or download some large files such as a Netflix movie or some other episodes.
Free WiFi Locations with uninterrupted access
While these places often come with a 24/7 internet service, they are not easy to reach. They might be at the most inconvenient places, where you will rarely go.
WiFiMap, this name is pretty self-explanatory- it simply provides a map of all free and available WiFis in an area. After its launch, WiFiMap became so popular that it got featured in Forbes, the wall street journal CNN, etc.
It is basically an app that you can download on your device which will allow you to get access to various free WiFi spots around an entered location.
People upload their previously used free wifi spots on the platform so that others can use them when they are in the area. It’s a crowdsourcing economy that will only grow as more people use it and share their finds.
According to their website, there are over 100 million hotspots around the world that you can tap into (that are nearby, obviously).
There are free wifi listings as well as password-protected ones, whose password is also mentioned within the app so that you will be able to connect easily.
All you have to do is download the said app and after entering the area you want the wifi listing of and voila, it will show the ones that are closest to that location.
Xfinity is another platform that offers locations of available hotspots in a given area. In their interactive map, you can find various free hotspots near your location.
According to their site, they provide more than 18 million hotspots across the United States.
Get Free Internet Access at your Home:
If you’re somehow unaware of FreedomPop, you’re really missing out. FreedomPop is comparatively a cheaper phone and internet service provider that is based on Los angles, California.
Their motto is to provide cheap and free (to a certain extent ) internet facilities to everyone. Their wireless internet (and mobile services) are very much affordable.
If you buy the GSM SIM, you will get 200 call minutes, 500 texts and 200 MBs of monthly internet data completely free of cost.
And if you buy a CDMA device (bought directly from FreedomPop or activated as a BYOD), you will get 200 minutes, 500 texts and 500 MBs of monthly internet data completely free.
The company charges a one-time activation fee of $9.99. Once the SIM is activated, you can enjoy free internet at a 4G speed.
But the amount of data you can use is limited, so you’ll have to keep your internet usage in check.
NetZero was founded in 1998, making it one of the oldest “free internet providers” out there. Though they have an ancient way to connect to the internet i.e: Dial-up internet access, they still provide over 10 hours of dial-up internet free of cost.
They also have a mobile broadband plan that gives 200 MBs of internet monthly absolutely free.
You can upgrade to a premium paid plan at $25 for which you can get far more than 200 MB of monthly internet data.
A little bit of warning…
Using the internet from a free source in public might be very convenient for you, but have you ever thought about how safe are those? How secure your internet connection is?
If you haven’t put much thought about it just yet, it is high time that you do, because there’s a thing called “Public wifi safety
Do not enter sensitive information: When you’re outdoor using public wifi, do not perform any online banking or shopping transaction while you’re connected to the said wifi. This can cause identity theft or credit card fraud.
Here the connection isn’t very secure, therefore it makes you more prone to such cyber threats.
Only use websites whose URL starts with “https” and not “http”: The extra “s” at the end stands for secure. It means that the connection between your device and the server is secured and no third party can see what you do online.
If you cannot see if the website that you’re visiting starts with “https” or “http”, simply tap on the website link or copy the link and paste it somewhere to see its beginning.
Use anti-malware software: Just keeping a good anti-malware program installed in your devices can go a long way especially if you’re using public and/or open WiFi.