Americans can find themselves dealing with a variety of bills. Whether that be rent, groceries, utilities, etc. One common bill that people also deal with is the cost of the internet. In fact, when the country was dealing with lockdowns, many people saw just how much their internet wasn’t able to keep up with needs like school, work, healthcare, and more. The government understands that there are people that could use support when it comes to getting this service. That is why they created the Affordable Connectivity Program!
What is the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP)?
ACP is a program that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) offers. This program can provide a discount of up to $30 a month towards internet service for qualifying households. The discount is even more for households that reside on eligible Tribal lands which is up to $75 a month. Besides receiving a monthly discount, households can also get a one-time discount of up to $100 towards buying an electronic device like a laptop, tablet, or desktop computer. However, it’s important to note that the electronics must be bought from participating providers (as long as they contribute over $10 and less than $50 towards the purchase price). Each household can only get one monthly service discount and one device discount!
In order to qualify for this program, households must be at or below 200% of the federal poverty level. The Federal Poverty Guidelines can change every year. However, for 2023 the income limits for households in the 48 Contiguous States, D.C., and Territories would be:
- $29,160 for a 1 person household
- $39,440 for a 2 person household
- $49,720 for a 3 person household
- $60,000 for a 4 person household
- $70,280 for a 5 person household
- $80,560 for a 6 person household
- $90,840 for a 7 person household
- $101,120 for a 8 person household
- Plus an extra $10,280 for each additional person
The income limits are different for households in Hawaii and Alaska. In 2023, the Alaska income limits are:
- $36,420 for a 1 person household
- $49,280 for a 2 person household
- $62,140 for a 3 person household
- $75,000 for a 4 person household
- $87,860 for a 5 person household
- $100,720 for a 6 person household
- $113,580 for a 7 person household
- $126,440 for a 8 person household
- Plus an extra $12,860 for each additional person
In 2023, the Hawaii income limits are:
- $33,540 for a 1 person household
- $45,360 for a 2 person household
- $57,180 for a 3 person household
- $69,000 for a 4 person household
- $80,820 for a 5 person household
- $92,640 for a 6 person household
- $104,460 for a 7 person household
- $116,280 for a 8 person household
- Plus an extra $11,820 for each additional person
Besides Household Income
Households may also be able to qualify if a member of their household meets one of the following criteria:
- Got a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year
- Meets qualifications for a participating provider’s existing low-income internet program
- Is a recipient of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Medicaid, Public Housing, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), National School Lunch Program (NSLP), School Breakfast Program (SBP), Veterans Pension, Survivor Benefits, or Lifeline assistance.
- Is a recipient of Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance, Tribal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations, or (income based) Tribal Head Start.
How to Apply
If you want to benefit from this support opportunity you will want to go to this government website: AffordableConnectivity.gov. From there you can submit an application. However, you also have the option to print out an application that you can mail-in.
You may also find that your provider (if they participate) may have a different application that they want you to complete in order to apply the discount to your plan. You will need to apply for the program as well as get in touch with a participating provider in order to choose a service plan.
Other ACP Benefits to Keep in Mind
Besides providing discounted services, recipients can also see other benefits that come from this program. Some protections include:
- Helping consumers find a service plan that works for their needs and budget
- Making sure consumers have access to broadband services regardless of their credit score
- Ensuring that providers cannot exclude consumers from benefiting from this program even if that have existing unpaid debt
- Protecting consumers from being forced into high priced, low quality plans in order to get ACP benefits
- Making sure that consumers don’t need to be responsible for early termination fees
- Lowering the potential for financial stress due to financial support through discounts
- Giving consumers the chance to switch providers or their service plans
- Having an FCC process available for ACP complaints
Commonly Asked Questions
Just like any government program, there are common questions that people have when learning about ACP.
What Service Providers Participate in ACP?
There are plenty of service providers that take part in ACP. The specific providers available will vary by location. That means in some areas, you may see that you have the choice to choose between multiple participating providers. You will want to reach out to local providers to get more details. However, you can also see the list of participating providers by state and territory on this government website.
Will You Receive the Discount Funds Directly Every Month?
Households that are a part of this program will not receive the discount funds directly. Instead, the participating service provider would be the ones to receive those funds. They can then apply the discount on the service that the household receives.
How Many Households are Enrolled in ACP?
There are actually millions of households enrolled in ACP. In fact, there’s over 10 million households as of February 2023. However, even though there are millions currently enrolled, there are plenty of people that could benefit and do not even know about this support opportunity yet!
Where Can You Get More Information on This Program?
If you want to review more frequently asked questions you can check out this government website. It is full of resources and can provide plenty of information! If you want to get in touch with someone you can also reach out to the ACP Support Center by calling 877-384-2575.
If you find yourself struggling to have an internet plan that works for your needs and budget then you’re not alone. That is why you will want to see if you could benefit from programs available like the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). It’s easy to apply and easy to qualify for especially if you are already receiving government assistance. You will want to check out your local service providers for more information as to what is available to you. However, you can find a lot of information online or by reaching out to the ACP Support Center at 877-384-2575.