The pandemic proved that broadband access is no longer a nice-to-have. It’s a must-have. Internet keeps everyone connected to work, school, medical help, family, and important news updates. The Affordable Connectivity Program, also known as the ACP, is here to help low-income families stay connected. Read on to find out if you or someone you know is eligible for affordable broadband, how to apply, and more.
The Affordable Connectivity Program (APC) Replaces the Emergency Broadband Benefit
The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) provides eligible households with a discount on broadband service and connected devices. On November 15, 2021, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (Infrastructure Act) became law. The Infrastructure Act provides $14.2 billion to modify and extend the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program (EBB Program) to a longer-term broadband affordability program called the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP).
Launched on December 31, 2021, the ACP replaced the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) program. Households enrolled in the EBB as of December 31, 2021, may keep their EBB benefit for 60 days and can transition to the ACP on March 1, 2022, if eligible.
The ACP provides discounts of up to $30 per eligible household on monthly broadband Internet access service (or
up to $75 per eligible household on Tribal lands) and up to $100 on specific connected devices (with a required co-pay of between $10.01 and $50). ACP services and devices are subject to consumer eligibility, provider participation, product availability, and approval by the FCC and its ACP administrator, the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC).
Who Is Eligible for ACP Discounted Broadband Service?
A household is eligible to receive an ACP discount if a member of the household meets one of the following criteria:
Has an income that is at or below 200% of the federal poverty level;
Is approved to receive benefits under the free and reduced-price school lunch program or the school breakfast program; or
Received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year.
ACP eligibility will be determined by USAC’s National Verifier (NV) and National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD), or an alternative verification process approved by the FCC.
The Difference Between Lifeline and the ACP
Lifeline is the FCC’s program to support affordable access to essential communications services such as broadband Internet access. The ACP is a new program designed to provide additional support to make broadband more affordable for struggling households. Lifeline and ACP benefits can be combined and applied to the same or different service plans. In addition, Lifeline subscribers can choose to take ACP benefits from another service provider.
How to Apply for the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP)
To apply to receive discounted broadband through the ACP, visit ACPBenefit.org. Once a preferred Internet provider is selected, the provider may have another online form for you to fill out. ACP benefits can be obtained from any participating provider.
Internet Providers That Participate in the Affordable Connectivity Program
From Verizon to Spectrum, many broadband service providers—including providers offering wireless broadband and landline phone service—participate in the Affordable Connectivity Program. Click here to view a list of broadband service providers that offer the ACP benefit in your area.
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(ACP benefits may be obtained from any participating provider of your choice, and your monthly service benefit may be transferred to another provider at any time.)