During the COVID-19 pandemic, closures and lockdowns disproportionately affected low-wage and service-sector workers. As more and more workplaces turned virtual, the US Congress and the FCC crafted policies to help people cope with the changing nature of their jobs. Working, learning, and receiving healthcare without broadband was impossible during Covid-19.
The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) has enrolled millions of households in a short period of time with its direct-to-consumer model and was appropriated $14 billion by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). USAC administers the Affordable Connectivity Program under the supervision of the FCC.
Broadband providers have received billions of dollars from the US government to build networks, but the mere presence of high-speed networks does not encourage adoption. The ACP removes the critical barrier to adoption by lowering the access price of broadband. The following benefits may be available to your household if you are eligible.
If you’re an Xfinity customer, read our blog post on how to enroll in the Xfinity ACP program.
Steps To Enroll In The Federal Affordable Connectivity Program
You’ll need to follow the following steps to enroll in the Federal Affordable Connectivity Program.
- Applicants can submit applications online or mail them in. Visit AffordableConnectivity.gov to learn more.
- Select a participating provider, and your bill will be discounted after you choose a plan.
Providers may request that you complete an alternative application. The program requires eligible households to apply for a service plan through a participating provider.
Benefits Of The Federal Affordable Connectivity Program
If you qualify for the Federal Affordable Connectivity Program, you may be eligible for the following benefits.
- Your internet service can be discounted by up to $30/month.
- Your household may qualify for a $75/month discount if it lives on tribal lands.
- For laptops, tablets, and desktop computers (with a co-payment of $10-$50), you can get a one-time discount of up to $100.
- The ACP may cover the full cost of a low-cost service plan.
Limits Of The Federal Affordable Connectivity Program
The discount can only be used for one device and one monthly service per household. ACP participants that offer connected devices are eligible for the connected device discount. A discount will be provided to the consumer by the internet provider.
There is a limit of one device discount per household and one monthly service discount per household under the Affordable Connectivity Program. The Affordable Connectivity Program and Emergency Broadband Benefit Program both offer consumers a choice of 104 internet service providers. If you are interested in participating in the Affordable Connectivity Program, please contact your preferred provider directly to learn more about their plans and services.
Eligibility For The Affordable Connectivity Program
When a household meets one of the following criteria, it is eligible to participate in the Affordable Connectivity Program.
Existing broadband consumers can apply online at AffordableConnectivity.gov or by mail. ACP applications do not need to be submitted by consumers who already participate in Lifeline. Direct enrollment in the ACP is also available to consumers who are enrolled in other low-income programs from service providers.
If the FCC approves a service provider’s alternative eligibility verification process, then consumers enrolled directly in those programs can be enrolled directly in the ACP. Consumers must agree to participate in the ACP before service providers enroll them.
ACP-supported services can be made available to consumers with gross annual household incomes below 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. For more information on income eligibility, visit the USAC’s Income Eligibility page.
If a consumer qualifies for Lifeline or a program like SNAP or Medicaid that qualifies for Lifeline, they may be eligible for ACP-supported service. The Affordable Connectivity Program is also available to consumers who participate in programs that qualify as ACPs.
This includes offering free and reduced-priced meals at schools and breakfast at schools. You can find a complete list of programs that qualify on the Program Eligibility page.
Eligibility For Enhanced Support
The $75 monthly discount on broadband service is in addition to any one-time discount on devices that may be available to those residing on Tribal Lands. No matter how they qualify for the ACP, they can receive the enhanced Tribal Benefit. Enhanced Tribal Benefit information is available here for consumers.
Every household consists of one or more persons who live at the same address and pay the household expenses. The FCC and USAC understand that multiple households may live at the same address.
If more than one subscriber receives ACP-supported service or device reimbursement at a single residential address, a Household Worksheet (Spanish Household Worksheet) must be completed, or if a new customer applies for services or a device at an address where a subscriber already receives ACP benefits.
There is no requirement that you be a US citizen to apply. Providing other documents in place of a Social Security Number (SSN) is possible if you do not have one. In addition, there is no credit check required of customers.
Low-income Americans can benefit from social investments enabling broadband access, resulting in better health, higher education, more job applications, more use of online government services, and reduced costs associated with offline, in-person activities.
If you are interested in learning more about different grants and programs that can help you with your living situation, read our article on emergency rental assistance grants. Check out the rest of Gov Relations’ blog section today!