What Is the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP)? A Resource Guide to Internet Service for Low-Income Households
The information in this article is current as of January 25, 2022.
The pandemic proved that broadband access is no longer a service that’s nice to have. It is a must-have. Internet keeps you connected to work, school, medical help, family, and important news updates. The Affordable Connectivity Program, also known as the ACP, is here to help! This resource guide gives you answers to important questions you may have about the Affordable Connectivity Program. Find out about ACP eligibility, rules, pricing, and more.
What Is the Affordable Connectivity Program (APC)?
The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) provides eligible households with a discount on broadband service and connected devices. Managed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the ACP is a government benefit program that helps make broadband Internet more affordable for lower-income households. On November 15, 2021, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (Infrastructure Act) became law. The Infrastructure Act provides $14.2 billion to modify and extend the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program (EBB Program) to a longer-term broadband affordability program called the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP).
How Much Is the ACP Discount?
The ACP provides discounts of up to $30 per eligible household on monthly broadband Internet access service (or up to $75 per eligible household on Tribal lands) and up to $100 on specific connected devices (with a required co-pay of between $10.01 and $50). ACP services and devices are subject to consumer eligibility, provider participation, product availability, and approval by the FCC and its ACP administrator, the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC).
Has the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) Program Ended?
Launched on December 31, 2021, the ACP replaces the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) program. Subscribers enrolled in the EBB as of December 31, 2021, can keep their EBB benefit for 60 days and can transition to the ACP on March 1, 2022, if eligible. To learn how to stay enrolled after March 1, click here.
Who Is Eligible for ACP Discounts on Broadband Service?
A household is eligible to receive an ACP discount if a member of the household meets one of the following criteria:
- Has an income that is at or below 200% of the federal poverty level;
- Receives benefits from Medicaid/Medi-Cal, SNAP/Cal-Fresh, SSI, Federal Public Housing Assistance, Veterans and Survivors Pension Benefit, WIC, or Lifeline;
- Is approved to receive benefits under the free and reduced-price school lunch program or the school breakfast program; or
- Received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year.
ACP eligibility will be determined by USAC’s National Verifier (NV) and National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD), or an alternative verification process approved by the FCC.
What Is the Difference Between Lifeline and the ACP?
Lifeline is the FCC’s program to support affordable access to essential communications services such as broadband Internet access. The ACP is a new program designed to provide additional support to make broadband more affordable for struggling households. Your Lifeline and ACP benefits can be combined and applied to the same service plan or applied to different service plans. In addition, Lifeline subscribers can choose to take ACP benefits from another service provider.
If I Already Receive Lifeline Benefits, Will I Automatically Receive the ACP Benefit?
If you have already received Lifeline, you must contact your service provider. Depending on your service provider, you will need to apply or opt-in. Reach out to your Internet company directly to enroll in the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP).
How Do I Apply for the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP)?
To apply to receive discounted broadband through the ACP, follow these steps:
- Visit ACPBenefit.org
- See if your household qualifies
- Fill out the application or print it out, and complete a mail-in application
- Select the participating broadband provider of your choice
Once you select your preferred Internet provider, the provider may have another online form for you to fill out. To take advantage of this benefit, it’s essential to select a participating broadband service provider and select a plan. This way the discount can be applied to your bill.
Can I Choose My ACP Service Provider?
ACP benefits can be obtained from any participating provider of your choice. In addition, if you have already been receiving a government-provided monthly service benefit, ACP can be transferred at any time.
How Long Will the ACP Last?
The ACP benefit is subject to funding availability from the FCC, provider participation, and consumer eligibility.
How Do I Sign Up for Service Through ACP?
ACP service providers most likely have their application process. You should contact the preferred service provider in your area for more information. Good news! You may also be eligible for a one-time discount on a desktop computer, laptop, or tablet through ACP. Not all service providers offer this device benefit. Ask your service provider if they have devices. You can also visit the FCC website for additional information.
Which Internet Providers Participate in the Affordable Connectivity Program?
Many broadband service providers, including providers offering wireless broadband and landline phone service, participate in the Affordable Connectivity Program. Click here to view a list of broadband service providers that offer the benefit in your state or territory. Read on for a sample list of service providers participating in ACP.
AT&T participates in the Affordable Connectivity Program and allows eligible customers to increase their bills by up
$30/month. Customers residing on Tribal lands can save up to $75/month. Eligible customers can save on home Internet and AT&T PREPAID. Visit the AT&T website for details.
All tiers of Xfinity Internet service are available through ACP. Both new and eligible existing customers can apply. To qualify, all non-Internet Essentials Xfinity Internet customers must complete an eligibility form with the federal National Verifier. For additional information, visit the Xfinity website.
Current Spectrum customers who have already applied for eligibility through the National Verifier may complete Spectrum’s online application form to apply for the program. You’ll receive verification of your status in the program by email. If you’re considering switching to Spectrum, you can find out if you’re eligible for this program by visiting the Spectrum website today. You’ll also need to apply through the National Verifier.
Verizon also makes the ACP subsidy available to eligible customers. Qualifying households will be able to get up to
$30/month plans with Internet access. Check the Verizon website to learn more.
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*Lifeline is a government assistance program that provides discounts on your monthly phone or broadband service. The service is non-transferrable. Only eligible consumers may enroll in the program; eligibility will be determined by the National Verifier. The Lifeline program is limited to one monthly service discount per household. The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) is an FCC benefit program that provides discounts on monthly broadband Internet access service and certain connected devices to eligible households. Eligibility will be determined by the National Verifier. An ACP eligible household is limited to one monthly service discount and a single one-time device discount. The benefits cannot be transferred to other individuals. Discounted devices are subject to availability and a minimum $10.01 co-pay applies (plus tax and shipping charges)—click here for more details . If the FCC announces the end the ACP, we end our ACP service offers, or if your household is no longer eligible, we will notify you and you will revert to receiving only the standard FREE Lifeline plan if you are eligible or you may choose from our other service plans available at that time by paying the applicable undiscounted rate plus applicable fees and taxes. Eligible consumers may get ACP service from any participating provider. Your ACP benefits may be transferred to another provider at any time. Lifeline subscribers may continue their existing Lifeline services without enrolling in the ACP and may choose to take ACP benefits from a service provider other than their existing Lifeline provider. For more information about the ACP and your eligibility, visit www.standupwireless.com/acp or call us at 1-800-544-4441. ACP service is subject to our complete terms and conditions, including the Acceptable Use Policy—click here for details. Available speeds will be determined by your particular service plan. Available speeds also depend on other factors, including network availability—for full details, click here. Offers may vary by state and service may not be available in all areas. Promotional offers may be modified or withdrawn at any time.