What to Do Without the ACP?

What’s coming as a shock for many people is the fact that the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) was only a temporary support opportunity.

A lot of households thought that this support would be available similar to other government assistance programs like SNAP.

However, that’s not the case.

Federal funding for this support opportunity is coming to an end.

Thankfully, that doesn’t mean the end of assistance for certain people.

Instead, households that have relied on ACP can benefit from opportunities that can provide similar perks like connectivity discounts and even free devices!

Assistance Opportunities for Bill Support (Without ACP)

Initiated in response to the COVID crisis, the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) started with a funding of $3.2 billion in 2020, later escalating to over $14 billion.

Its significant impact in lowering internet bills up to $30 monthly and offering a $100 discount for devices has been a substantial relief for many Americans.

ACP’s collaboration with Lifeline further expanded its reach, including the opportunity for free devices.

Despite its quick rise in popularity and an increasing number of beneficiaries,

ACP is coming to an end.

This upcoming shift is a concern for households reliant on ACP, but fortunately, there are alternative support options in place to bridge the gap!

What Assistance is Available Instead of ACP

As the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) comes to an end, there’s a silver lining with numerous opportunities for continued assistance still available.

Programs like Lifeline, backed by the FCC, are stepping in to offer bill discounts, ensuring connectivity support doesn’t stop altogether.

Additionally, carriers including AT&T, Metro by T-Mobile, and Verizon are actively providing free devices.

This shows their commitment to providing ongoing support.

This available support from both programs and carriers means that households can still find valuable assistance even beyond the lifespan of ACP.

Lifeline Program

The Lifeline program offers a helping hand to low-income households across the U.S., providing discounts on phone and internet services.

Eligibility is determined by household income.

Which needs to be below 135% of the federal poverty level, and the program limits the discount to one service per household, usually at $9.25 per month.

Upon approval, consumers can select from various phone and internet companies that meet Lifeline’s strict standards on device usage, speed, and hot-spot features.

Managed by the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC), Lifeline is more than just a discount program; it involves oversight of maintenance, data handling, and distribution of funds to support those in need.

AT&T

AT&T is currently running a special promotion that allows some customers to get an iPhone 15 Pro for free, provided they meet certain conditions.

To qualify, customers must trade in an eligible device and select an unlimited plan that might have speed limitations during peak periods.

The promotion offers more than $950 in credits over 36 months.

It includes a 0% APR installment plan, and requires no down payment for customers with good credit.

Although, taxes on the full price must be paid upfront.

This deal is applicable to trade-ins of iPhone 15 Pro or Pro Max valued at least $290.

Both new and existing customers can take advantage of this offer, which is subject to change and comes with additional terms.

Metro by T-Mobile

To get a completely free 5G phone, check out Metro’s latest deal.

When you visit a Metro store, you can pick up a Google Pixel 6a or REVVL 6 5G at no cost.

All you need to do is bring your number to Metro, select a plan of at least $40/month, and pay the tax.

For those shopping online, the Galaxy A14 5G comes with no activation fees and the option to add a voice line to your plan.

Metro ensures there are no hidden fees, so the price you see is what you pay.

Verizon

Verizon offers many promotions to make getting a new phone budget-friendly.

By signing up for a 36-month bill credit plan, you can often get a phone at no cost.

These promotions are ideal for anyone looking to upgrade without significant expenses.

Look for deals featuring a variety of models and brands.

Trading in your current or older device can also qualify you for a free upgrade.

Verizon’s buy-one-get-one-free deals are especially useful for families or those needing multiple phones.

Overall, these deals make upgrading your phone both simple and affordable.

Summary

The end of the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) may surprise many, but it’s not the end of assistance for households.

Though ACP was temporary, options like Lifeline continue to offer support, providing phone and internet discounts to those in need.

Carriers also can provide similar support as well.

With free services, unlimited talk and text, and bonuses like no cost smartphones, these alternatives ensure continuous connectivity support.

So, even as ACP wraps up, many other opportunities remain open for affordable and accessible communication.