Being connected in today’s world is a necessity. Whether for work, school, or healthcare, access to the internet is something most people need. But, if you’re living on a budget, the cost of that access may be hard to squeeze in.
Luckily, there’s a government-funded program called The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), which makes access to the internet and connected devices more affordable for eligible households. Depending on your eligibility and Internet Service Provider (ISP), you may be able to get anywhere from $30 off your internet plan up to totally free internet.
Below we’ve outlined what you need to know about the program, how to apply, and more!
What is the ACP benefit?
The ACP is a federal program that makes internet service (broadband) more affordable for eligible households. There are a few discounts available based on eligibility, which include:
- Up to $30 off monthly internet service
- Up to $75 off monthly internet service for households on qualifying tribal land
- A one-time $100 discount for a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet
There is a limit of one monthly service discount and/or one device discount per household.
To get even more savings on your internet plan, check with ISPs, like Verizon, in your area. They may offer additional discounts that can make home internet completely free.
Tip: Don’t be afraid to shop around for an ISP if you have access to more than one in your area, since their discounts vary.
You can learn more about the ACP here.
How do I know if I’m eligible?
You may be wondering if you or your household is eligible for ACP. Here are a few ways you may be able to qualify:
- By household income – If your household income is at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines
- Federal assistance program participation – If you or someone in your household participates in federal assistance programs like SNAP, Medicaid, WIC, SSI, or the Free and Reduced-Price School Breakfast or Lunch program
- Lifeline Benefit enrollment – If you or your child are already enrolled in the Lifeline program
For a full list of how you can qualify, click here.
Who are the participating ISPs?
There are 20 ISPs that have agreed to offer a high-speed internet plan for $30 per month or less.
There are also over 1,300 providers that accept the ACP benefit and offer a $30 monthly discount on your bill. Find one near you.
How to apply for ACP
Here’s how to apply for low-income internet:
- Go to the Affordable Connectivity page to apply online or print out a mail-in application.
- Contact your ISP to select a plan and/or have the discount applied to your account. Also, check with them to see what other offers they may have connected to ACP.
- Are Lifeline and ACP the same thing?
Lifeline and ACP are two different programs. The ACP has wider eligibility criteria than Lifeline.
If you currently have the Lifeline discount, you can also apply for ACP. You can then either combine the benefits or use them for two different service plans.
How long can I receive benefits?
Every year, your ISP will check to confirm you still qualify for the benefit. They’ll send you a notice that you’ll need to respond to so you can keep your benefit.
How long will ACP last?
While there’s no definite answer at the moment, the government is continuing to make an effort to keep the program running for as long as possible.
You can find more information on ACP here.