Internet access has evolved from being a luxury to a necessity. Whether it's from your desktop computer, laptop, or mobile device, having an internet connection is important for school, work, healthcare, and other public services.
To compensate for the need for internet connection, especially for low-income individuals and households, the government has launched the Affordable Connectivity Program, also known as the ACP.
To learn how to get an ACP free phone, check out how the ACP program works and how they help by giving free government phones to those in need.
Getting A Free Phone From The Affordable Connectivity Program
The Affordable Connectivity Program is a federal program launched by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and managed through the efforts of the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC).
This assistance program from the government serves as the updated version of the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB). It was formed from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act with the main goal of helping more households afford broadband and phone service, either free or subsidized a discount.
In the ACP, you may receive a discount of up to $30 per month for your internet services. After checking and confirming your eligibility, you can connect with one service provider from 1,300 partners. However, 20 participating internet providers also commit to providing free high-speed, high-quality internet if you meet their requirements.
How Does The Affordable Connectivity Program Work?
To enjoy the benefits of the Affordable Connectivity Program, you must first learn as much information as you can and understand the details of this program.
If your household meets the eligibility requirements of the ACP, you can receive the following:
- A one-time discount of up to $100 to buy a desktop computer, laptop, tablet, or phone through a participating service provider, granted that you are willing to pay a share of $10-$50 for the price of the device
- Up to $30 service discount per month for your broadband plan or up to $75 per month discount if you are from qualifying Tribal lands
Eligible households should note that this program has restrictions.
First, if your service plan exceeds $30 per month, you will be required to pay the exceeding amount out of pocket. However, if the offer you choose is $30 or less, you get the award for free.
Additionally, you should note that the discount is limited to one service discount and one device discount per household. The program is not one per person.
How To Qualify For An ACP Free Phone
Before you apply to get an ACP free phone, you should check your qualifications.
To put it simply, you need to meet at least one out of two requirements. First, your household income must be at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. Second, you must be a participant in one of these federal assistance programs:
- Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA)
- Federal Pell Grant
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
- Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- The National School Lunch Program or The School Breakfast Program
- Tribal Head Start
- Tribal TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families)
- Veterans Pension or Survivor Benefits
- Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance
- Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations
Where Can You Apply To Get An ACP Free Phone?
Now that you have confirmed that you meet the eligibility criteria, you should get started with an application to be a customer. Though ACP has a database that features all active participating providers in your state, here are some of the best internet service providers where you can check ACP enrollment plans to help you get started.
1. Access Wireless
Access Wireless offers its ACP deals to people who meet the criteria in the National Verifier application system. You can opt for ACP only service plans, but you can also choose an ACP + Lifeline combination. With the ACP Only plan, you can get 1,000 minutes, unlimited text, and unlimited 10 GB high-speed data for free. The main difference with the ACP + Lifeline program is you get all of that plus unlimited talk time after successful enrollment.
2. Assurance Wireless By T-Mobile
Assurance Wireless offers the Affordable Connectivity Program as a part of T-Mobile's primary assistance brand. With Assurance Wireless, customers can get free unlimited data, texting, calling, free 10GB monthly mobile hotspot data, and the power of T-Mobile's nationwide network. Aside from the plan, eligible customers also get a free Android smartphone, with the model provided based on availability.
3. Easy Wireless
Easy Wireless provides free data plans and devices to eligible individuals in Arkansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma. They offer ACP only plans and Lifeline + ACP combo plans. However, the free phone is only available on the Lifeline + ACP combo plans. You can sign up for the Base Plan, Plus Plan, or Unlimited Plan, each has its own talk, text, and data allocations, and you can choose the best one for you depending on your needs and preferences.
Frequently Asked Questions:
The ACP Free Phone program, offered by Assurance Wireless (a brand of Virgin Mobile USA), is a government-supported initiative under the Lifeline Assistance Program. It provides eligible low-income households with a free smartphone, monthly voice minutes, unlimited text messages, and a data allowance.
To be eligible for the ACP Free Phone program, applicants must participate in a qualifying government assistance program, such as Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Alternatively, applicants may qualify based on their household income being at or below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.
To apply for the ACP Free Phone program, visit the Assurance Wireless website and complete the online application. You can also request a paper application by calling Assurance Wireless customer service. Be prepared to provide proof of eligibility, such as documents verifying your participation in a qualifying government assistance program or your income level.
Get Your ACP Free Phone Today
Solve your mobile phone and data connection problems by checking if you qualify for the Affordable Connectivity Program. You can start by checking your eligibility and choosing the best service provider near you.
If you want to learn more about getting free government phones for low-income families, check out our guide from Gov Relations today!