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How to Get Free and Low-Cost Internet

High-speed internet is a basic necessity, and both public and private organizations are working to expand access. This has made it possible for many people in the US to get broadband internet free of charge through the Affordable Connectivity Program and other public and private programs.

People in the US have uneven access to the internet, a problem that was made much more apparent during the COVID-19 pandemic. What do you do if you don’t have access to good speeds where you live? What if you can’t afford any of the providers that are available in your area? And what if no major ISPs offer service where you live?

Long-term internet infrastructure solutions to these problems are complicated. However, there are multiple ways to get internet access completely free of charge or at a reduced cost. These can be important not only during a global crisis, but also during any type of financial stress. We’ll walk you through them.


How to get no-cost HBC Internet

HBC has suspended disconnections due to failure to pay along with waiving late fees. This offer has been extended beyond the original deadline of the FCC pledge, but no end date has been announced.2,3 HBC offers programs for low-income families and is also providing free broadband internet service for two months for eligible low-income households through its Temporary Free Internet Assistance Program (COVID-19). This offer is available for both new and existing residential internet customers in the HBC service area who participate in the following programs:

  • NSLP (National School Lunch Program)
  • The Telephone Assistance Program (TAP)

It should be noted, however, that while late fees will be waived, other taxes, fees, and surcharges still apply, so be sure to call HBC for details.

How to get low-cost Comcast Xfinity Internet

Xfinity’s Internet Essentials program  is available for $9.95 for those who qualify, which is an incredible value. Comcast has also increased the speed available to the Internet Essentials program in response to the pandemic, a change which will be permanent.4

Comcast also offers teachers who sign up for Xfinity a $150 Visa® Prepaid Card to help offset the cost of the first few months of service. This offer is available until January 21, 2022.

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How to Change the Extension of a File

Besides its name, each file on your computer also has an extension. It’s those two or three characters at the end of the file name, right after the dot. For example, a full file name for an MP3 song could look like this: My Favorite Song.mp3. That “.mp3” suffix is the file extension.

The operating system on your computer uses extensions to know what kind of file it’s working with and how to process it. They also provide information on which application you should use to open them.

Regardless of whether you use a Windows or Mac OS X computer, you can change the extension of each file in your system.

Two Approaches

There are two ways to change a file’s extension. You can change it manually or use a program to save the file in question under a different extension. The main difference between these two scenarios is how the operating system would interpret the file once you change the extension.

Changing the Extension Manually

If you do it manually, the system probably won’t be able to process the file correctly. For example, if you change an .mp3 audio file to a .jpg image file, the system will fail to open it. The reason being the internal structure of an audio file is quite different from that of an image file.


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However, this change could work if two different extensions refer to the same file type. The best example of this is the JPEG format. Both “.jpg” and “.jpeg” extensions refer to the same file structure, allowing the same program to open both files, without any difference.

Also, it might happen that when you’re saving a file directly from a program, you could accidentally remove the extension and leave only the file name. That will render the file unusable by the system since it won’t know what to do with a file that has no extension. In that case, you’ll need to rename the file and add the correct extension.

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