A constant internet connection is crucial to stay in touch with friends and family members no matter where they are. It’s also essential for school, work, and job hunting. So, when breadwinners from low-income households cannot fork out finances for internet services, it becomes an evident problem.
Fortunately, the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) allows eligible American families to stay connected with internet payment assistance. Let’s explore all you need to know about this program, its benefits, scope, eligibility, and how to claim assistance.
- What Is the Affordable Connectivity Program?
- How Does ACP Work?
- Scope of ACP
- How Much Is the Affordable Connectivity Program?
- Who Can Apply?
- How To Sign Up for the Affordable Connectivity Program
- Documents Needed
- How Long Will the Benefit Last?
- A Digital Lifeline to the Low-income Families
What Is the Affordable Connectivity Program?
The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) is a federal government-funded initiative created to provide affordable internet service to low-income households across the US. Powered by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), this program is devised to bridge the digital divide the offering affordable broadband service to qualifying households.
While the FCC powers the ACP, it is overseen by the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC).
How Does ACP Work?
Through the FCC and USAC, the federal government pays subsidies to selected internet service providers (ISP) to the tune of $30 each for each qualifying household. If your internet subscription is over $30 monthly, you will pay the remaining portion of the charge to the ISP.
Scope of ACP
There are two significant ways in which the Affordable Connectivity Program can help low-income households. They include:
- Discounted internet service. The ACP provides qualifying households with a discount in internet service of up to $30 with one of over 1,300 selected internet providers, including T-Mobile and Xfinity
- Free internet services. The ACP also collaborates with 20 internet providers to supply high-quality internet (100MB per second download speed) for $30 or less. If you utilize your benefit with any of the 20 providers, you will be receiving the internet service for free
How Much Is the Affordable Connectivity Program?
Qualifying households in America can receive the following:
- Up to $30 discount monthly for broadband service
- Up to $70 discount monthly on eligible tribal lands
- A one-time discount of up to $100 for the purchase of a desktop PC, laptop, or tablet from a selected internet service provider, if the household contributes between $10 and $50 towards the purchase of the device.
While eligible households can get up to $30 monthly, the amount depends on your chosen subscription plan. The credit from the ACP will not exceed the monthly cost of your internet service. Thus, you will pay the remaining balance if you choose an internet plan over $30. However, if you choose an internet service offering a $30 or less subscription, you will not make any out-of-pocket payments.
Remember that this program is provided per household and not per person.
Who Can Apply?
Your household is eligible to claim the internet credit if you meet the following requirements:
- Your entire household are American citizens or hold legal immigration status
- Your household income is at or below the Federal Poverty Guidelines
- Your household is eligible and participating in federal assistance programs, including SNAP, Medicare, Medicaid, TANF, WIC, FHA, Veterans Pensions, or Survivor benefits
- Your household resides in qualifying Tribal Lands
How To Sign Up for the Affordable Connectivity Program
There are three ways you can apply for the Affordable Connectivity Program. They include:
Visit the Lifeline and ACP National Verifier Portal, create a new account, and complete the application online. It is a swift and seamless process.
- Print the ACP application form (in English or Spanish) and follow the instructions on the ACP guideline.
- Print the Household Worksheet (in English or Spanish). See the ACP Household Worksheet Instructions to ensure you get the correct benefit amount.
- Forward the completed ACP application to the following address:
ACP Support Center
P.O. Box 7081
London, KY 40742
Your Internet Service Provider
You can also contact your current internet service provider and confirm if they are enlisted in the ACP. If they are, you can skip the lengthy process of sending a mail or applying online.
If they aren’t, you can terminate your subscription and use the USAC ACP Provider Locator Online Tool to find a selected provider near you. The ACP has over 1,300 internet providers offering landline and wireless internet services to low-income households. Some of them include T-Mobile, Xfinity Affordable Connectivity Program, and many others.
You can call the ACP Support Center at (877) 384-2575, available every day from 9am to 9pm ET. Similarly, you can forward your email inquiries to ACPSupport@usac.org or visit the FCC ACP Page for additional information.
You will need the following documents when applying for the ACP internet benefit:
- Proof of US citizenship or legal immigration status
- Proof of physical address or Tribal Lands location
- Your annual income statements, pay stubs, or other receipts received for work rendered
- Veterans Administration statement of benefits if any
- Unemployment or Worker’s Compensation statement of benefits if any
- Pension or retirement statement of benefits
How Long Will the Benefit Last?
You will be eligible for the benefit if you qualify and the federal government provides adequate funding. If your finances and income pick up, you must notify your ISP within 30 days to terminate your benefit. You will be notified if the government plans to end the benefit 30 days before the termination date.
A Digital Lifeline to the Low-income Families
The Affordable Connectivity Program is specially designed to provide high-speed, high-quality internet service to low-income households in America. With this program, you can get up to $30 in discounted monthly internet charges, allowing your family to stay connected. With this benefit, you can channel your finances into other essential needs for your family. Are you eligible for the ACP? Take advantage of the benefit now.