According to a survey by the White Fence Index, the average American home pays $38 a month for Internet plus the cost of any installation fee or additional hardware such as a router, which typically can run anywhere from $30 to $125. That adds up to at least $450 a year, not including the installation fee and the cost of the router. Sure, you could completely eradicate this expense by getting rid of your home Internet and instead solely relying on free Wi-Fi spots like your local Starbucks — which in reality isn’t all that free if you feel obliged to buy something so the staff doesn’t give you the “you’re an evil Wi-Fi freeloader” eye. But this solution isn’t really practical — in this technology-driven day and age, home Internet is not a frivolous luxury but a near necessity for us “wired in” folk.

So what’s a frugal, home-Internet reliant gal to do? Well, one option is to check out the free and low-cost home Internet services offered by FreedomPop. Currently, FreedomPop is available in 70 major cities across the U.S. To get a general idea of availability, check out this map of FreedomPop’s coverage area:
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To find out if FreedomPop is available at your specific home address, click here and then enter your home’s zip code and then, if prompted, your street address.

FreedomPop offers four tiers of service: a free tier and then three premium service tiers that cost between $9.99 and $18.99 per month. To use any of FreedomPop’s services, free or paid, you need to buy an $89 home WIMAX router. Here’s a closer look at FreedomPop’s four service tiers:

The IGB Plan (the FREE plan!)

  • Cost: FREE! ($0.00/month)
  • Internet speed: up to 1.5Mbps
  • Data limit:1GB per month
  • Data overage fee: $0.01 per extra MB
  • Ideal for: basic web surfing and email; if you download files or stream video or audio, this is not the plan for you as you will surely surpass the 1GB/month data limit and incur expensive overage charges
  • Note: users of this free plan can earn more data in 50MB chunks for free by using FreedomPop’s social network and IP services and participating in various promotions

The Basic Plan

  • Cost: $9.99/month
  • Internet speed: up to 1.5Mbps
  • Data limit:10GB per month
  • Data overage fee: $0.005 per extra MB
  • Ideal for: web surfing, email, and Facebook

The Faster 3X Speed Plan

  • Cost: $14.99/month
  • Internet speed: up to 3Mbps
  • Data limit:10GB per month
  • Data overage fee: $0.005 per extra MB
  • Ideal for: photo sharing, music sharing, and gaming

The Fastest 8X Speed Plan

  • Cost: $18.99/month
  • Internet speed: up to 8Mbps
  • Data limit:10GB per month
  • Data overage fee: $0.005 per extra MB
  • Ideal for: photo sharing, gaming, and video streaming

If you want to sign up for one of FreedomPop’s free or low-cost home Internet service plans, click here and then follow the prompts on the website. You’ll be frugally surfing the Web in no time — can you say www [dot] yay?