How the Affordable Connectivity Program Came to Be
What to know about the Affordable Connectivity Program, its origins in the FCC, and how eligible applicants can access affordable Internet.
Assistance programs provide a valuable tool for governments to alleviate the economic pressures faced by many households. Discounted services and products give eligible households access to important tools and features that enhance their quality of life.
One of the most important modern utilities with the potential to reduce major social inequalities is broadband Internet. The digital divide caused by not having access to Internet is a major problem for low-income, tribal, and rural households. For homes that don’t have Internet access, it’s harder to find a new job, get an education, or network with potential employers.
Enter the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP).
What Is the FCC Affordable Connectivity Program?
For many people throughout the United States, access to affordable broadband and compatible devices can present a major obstacle to taking part in certain social functions. Seeing that this could be problematic, the federal government stepped in. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) created a service designed to give eligible households a lifeline through affordable Internet service and device options.
The FCC’s Affordable Connectivity Program distributes monthly credits to qualifying households for discounted Internet service and devices to connect with. Qualifying participants have access to packages that are designed to be cost-effective with flexible options.
ACP benefits include up to $30 monthly for eligible households to purchase Internet service and as much as $75 monthly for households that are located on tribal lands. There’s also a one-time discount of $100 for eligible participants who need a computer or tablet.
When Was the Affordable Connectivity Program Started?
The ACP was created in 2022 and is funded through the Internet For All Initiative and the Investment in Infrastructure and Jobs Act. The funds have been allocated for five years. Congress must agree to continued funding for the program to be extended further into the future.
The program is overseen by the FCC and several partner companies. By distributing money through the states and offering low-income and tribal households affordable connectivity, the ACP allows local governments to expand their Internet infrastructure to more rural and low-income areas.
Who Started the Affordable Connectivity Program?
The ACP was passed by congress to replace the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) program created at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. The congressional directive gives the FCC the ability to assist more households with their connectivity needs for an ongoing period.
As the world rapidly shifts towards a greater reliance on digital infrastructure, some households can be quickly left behind based on location and income. The ACP represents a long-term investment on the part of the federal government for families that need to stay connected. However, there are also many other contributors.
Today, many well-known providers participate in the ACP. Members include:
- Comcast (Xfinity)
- Spectrum (Charter)
These providers can be contacted directly for questions about specific plans and pricing and to find the opportunities that work best for you. Potential applicants should understand eligibility requirements before submitting an application for the program.
Who Benefits from the Affordable Connectivity Program?
Eligible households can benefit from the ACP if they go through the proper application process. Those with household income at least twice the minimum laid out in the Federal Poverty Guidelines may be eligible.
Enrollment in a service plan requires households to meet specific eligibility requirements. Individuals receiving supplemental security income, such as from the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) or a Pell Grant for the current award year, can benefit from the ACP.
Recipients of the following low-income programs are also eligible:
- Head Start
- The lifeline program
- Federal public housing assistance
- School lunch program
Eligibility requirements are determined based on household income. Read the ACP consumer FAQs to see if you qualify. Households living on qualifying tribal lands should consider enrollment in the ACP for the added benefits they can receive from the service.
Visit acpbenefit.org to find out more.
Use SmartMove for Affordable Connectivity
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