The Federal Communication Commission’s Affordable Connectivity Program helps millions of households get and save on Internet service
(Family Features) High-speed Internet service is no longer a luxury, but a necessity for everyone, everywhere.
From doing homework to using telehealth, working remotely, connecting with family and friends and more, the internet is necessary for everyday life. High-speed internet has become a big part of how people live, communicate, work, learn and more, but the cost can make it difficult for many to afford.
To help ensure that all Americans can share and contribute to today’s Internet-based society and economy, Congress created the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) under the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021. Launched On December 31, 2021, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) oversees the program to help eligible households access affordable high-speed Internet service.
“For many families, the cost of groceries, gas and rent can eat into the monthly budget, making Internet access out of reach,” said FCC Chair Jessica Rosenworcel. “ACP is the nation’s largest broadband accessibility effort ever, supporting Internet connections in millions of households. This is progress, but we want to do more to spread the word about this powerful program and reach families who may not be aware of this benefit.”
How the program works
The ACP offers eligible households savings of $30 per month on Internet service or $75 per month for eligible households living on eligible tribal lands. Participation in the ACP may make your Internet service free if the savings cover the full price of the plan. Eligible attendees will not receive further refunds if their account is below the discount. Participating providers apply monthly savings directly to ACP-enrolled households’ Internet bills.
Eligible households can also receive a one-time savings of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer or tablet from participating vendors. The program is limited to a monthly service discount and a device discount for families (a group of people who live together and share money even if they’re not related).
As of June 2023, more than 18 million households have enrolled in the program and are connected to the high-speed Internet services they need for work, school, health care and more.
How to sign up
There are two steps to enrolling in the ACP:
Step 1: Visit GetInternet.gov and submit your application or print an application by mail. Families with questions about eligibility or how to apply, or if they need to request a paper application, can call the ACP Help Center at (877) 384-2575.
Step 2: If approved, contact your local Internet provider to select a plan and apply the discount to your monthly bill. Use the Companies Near Me tool on GetInternet.gov to find participating Internet service providers in your area by city and state or zip code. Consumers can select the type and level of Internet service that best suits their needs.
The ACP protects consumers by allowing families to choose an Internet service plan that meets their family’s needs. In addition, consumers cannot be denied service due to their credit score or past debts with a provider, and ACP-enrolled households can switch providers and plans without incurring additional fees or early termination penalties.
For a complete list of eligibility requirements and more information, visit GetInternet.gov.
Ways families can qualify for the ACP include:
- Their household income is at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines, approximately $60,000 a year for a family of four or $29,000 a year for an individual
- Anyone in the household, including children or dependents, participates in certain government assistance programs such as SNAP, Medicaid, WIC, Federal Housing Assistance, or other programs
- All family members already receive a Lifeline benefit
A family may also qualify for the ACP through a participating provider’s existing low-income program.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images
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