Remember that $1 trillion dollar infrastructure bill from a few years back? Besides pouring billions of dollars into transportation, roads, and bridges, the plan also funneled $65 million into broadband, with the goal of expanding internet access through programs like the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). The initiative helps low-income Americans pay for internet by providing a subsidy of up to $75 toward their bill. Here’s how you can sign up.
Am I Eligible?
To qualify, you have to meet one of two criteria. Either your household income is at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines (that’s double), or a member of your household has already qualified for another government benefit, such as a Federal Pell Grant, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or Medicaid.
Other qualifying programs include:
The Free and Reduced-Price School Lunch Program or School Breakfast Program, including at U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Community Eligibility Provision schools
Section 8 vouchers, Project-Based Rental Assistance, Public Housing, and Affordable Housing Programs for American Indians, Alaska natives, or native Hawaiians.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
The California Women, Infants and Children program (WIC)
Veterans Pension or Survivor Benefits
Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance
Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations
Tribal Head Start (income based)
An existing low-income discount through your internet service provider (ISP)
For example, let’s say you’re a family of three. If your household makes $49,720 a year or less before taxes, then you’re eligible for the ACP. Otherwise, a member of your household has to be part of one of the above federal programs.
Since the ACP replaces the temporary Emergency Broadband Benefit, most people who were under the previous program by the end of 2021 now automatically qualify for the ACP.
How Do I Enroll?
Enrolling in the ACP is easy. Simply go to getinternet.gov, where you’ll fill out a short application that will ask you a few basic questions to verify your identity. You also have the option to fill out the application via mail.
Print out the form listed on the website, or call and have it sent to you. You’ll mail the completed form to an ACP Support Center (the address is listed on the form).
If you qualify, you’ll need to contact your current ISP or find one that offers the ACP discount. For a list of eligible providers in your area, use this tool. Some of the largest participating ISPs include: AT&T, Verizon, Xfinity, Spectrum, Cox, and Mediacom.
You, as the consumer, can subscribe to any speed or package you want and still receive the ACP discount — no matter how much it costs. In fact, the program specifically prohibits companies from tying the discount to any particular service, tier, or speed, so don’t let a salesperson upsell or downsell you.
What Are the ACP’s Benefits?
Households on qualifying tribal lands can earn discounts of up to $75 per month
All other households can earn up to $30
Households that qualify for the ACP can also earn $100 for a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet, provided they contribute more than $10 and less than $50 (limit one per household)
The Bottom Line
The best part about the ACP is that it’s simple. All you have to do is fill out an application and contact your internet company, and you’ll receive a sizeable discount that could add up to hundreds of dollars in savings a year. And since the eligibility criteria are straightforward, you won’t have to waste your time applying if you make too much money or don’t receive government benefits.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP)?
The ACP is a government program that subsidizes your internet bill by as much as $75. Your household can qualify if you make 200% or less than the Federal Poverty Guidelines, or if you receive other benefits. Participants also earn a $100 credit toward a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet if they pitch in between $10 and $50.
Is the Affordable Connectivity Program legitimate?
Yes. The ACP is a government-run benefits program.
How long will the Affordable Connectivity Program last?
The program has received $14 billion in funding and will continue indefinitely.
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