Americans find themselves managing a lot of bills. This could be rent, food, utilities, and more. One common bill that individuals manage is internet expenses. As a matter of fact, when the United States was dealing with lockdowns, many individuals realized just how much their internet could not keep up with their needs. These needs include school, employment, healthcare, and more. The federal government recognizes that there are individuals that could use support when it comes to receiving this service. That is why they established the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP).
What is the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP)?
The ACP is a federal program that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) provides. This program can offer a discount of up to $30 per month towards internet service for eligible families. The discount is even more for families that reside on qualifying tribal lands of up to $75 per month. Other than getting a discount per month, families can also receive a one-time discount of up to $100 towards purchasing an electronic device. This includes a laptop, tablet, or desktop computer. It is important to remember that the electronics must be purchased from participating providers, in the case that they contribute over $10 and less than $50 towards the buying price. Each family can only receive one service discount per month and one device discount.
If you want to be eligible for this program, families must be at or lower than 200% of the Federal Poverty Level. The Federal Poverty Guidelines can vary every year. For 2023, the income restrictions for families 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 family
- $70,280 for a 5 person family
- $80,560 for a 6 person family
- $90,840 for a 7 person family
- $101,120 for a 8 person family
- Plus an additional $10,280 for each extra person
The income restrictions vary for families in Hawaii and Alaska. In 2023, the Alaska income restrictions 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 family
- $87,860 for a 5 person family
- $100,720 for a 6 person family
- $113,580 for a 7 person family
- $126,440 for a 8 person family
- Plus an additional $12,860 for each extra individual
In 2023, the Hawaii income restrictions 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 family
- $80,820 for a 5 person family
- $92,640 for a 6 person family
- $104,460 for a 7 person family
- $116,280 for a 8 person family
- Plus an additional $11,820 for each extra individual
Other Than Household Income
Additionally, families might be eligible if a person in their family meets one of the requirements:
- Received a Federal Pell Grant within the current award year
- Meets eligibility requirements for a participating provider’s current low-income internet program
- Receives 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.
- Receives 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 are interested in gaining from this support option, you will want to look through this federal website: AffordableConnectivity.gov. Here, you can apply. You also have the opportunity to print out an application to mail in. Additionally, you might find that your provider (if they take part in the program) might have a different application they want you to fill out, to apply for the discount on your plan. You will need to apply for the program and contact a participating provider if you choose a service plan.
Other ACP Benefits to Consider
Other than offering discounted services, recipients can also get other benefits from the ACP. Some benefits include:
- Providing assistance to consumers to look for a service plan that suits their needs and budget
- Ensuring consumers have access to broadband services no matter what their credit score is
- Making sure that providers include all consumers from gaining from this program, even if they have existing unpaid debt
- Providing protection consumers from being forced into high priced, low quality plans in order to receive ACP benefits
- Making sure that consumers do not need to be in charge of early termination fees
- Reducing the potential for financial stress due to financial relief through discounts
- Offering consumers the opportunity to change providers or their service plans
- Getting an FCC process available for ACP complaints
Commonly Asked Questions
Similar to any federal program, there are common questions that individuals get when learning about ACP.
What Service Providers Take Part in ACP?
There are many service providers that participate in ACP. The specific providers available will differ from one location to another. This means in some locations, you might see that you have the right to select between several participating providers. You will want to contact local providers to receive more details. You can also see the list of providers that participate in the program from state and territory on this federal website.
Will You Get the Discount Funds Directly Per Month?
Families that are part of the ACP will not get the discount funds directly. Instead, the participating service provider would be the ones to get those funds. They can then apply the discount on the services that the family gets.
Where Can You Receive More Information on The ACP?
If you are interested in looking through frequently asked questions, you can look through this government website. It has a lot of resources and can offer a lot of information! If you are interested in speaking with someone, you can also get in touch with the ACP Support Center by calling 877-384-2575.
The Final Verdict
If you find yourself having a hard time getting an internet plan that suits your needs and budget, you are not the only one. This is why you will want to check out if you can benefit from programs available such as the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). It is easy to apply and even easier to be eligible, especially if you are already getting federal assistance. You will want to review your local service providers for more information on what is available to you. You can find a lot of information online or by contacting the ACP Support Center at 877-384-2575.