The Affordable Connectivity Program is a new program to assist in lowering the cost of internet service to eligible households. This is a long-term program funded by the U.S. Federal Government and administered by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
The Inspector General’s Office has reported that phone and internet service providers are attempting to bundle the Lifeline Benefit for phone service with the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). You may choose to participate in one program or both, if you qualify. You do not have to receive both internet service and phone service from the same provider to qualify for either program. Participation in one program cannot be conditioned through a service provider on participation in the other program. You may file a complaint with the FCC if your internet or phone service provider conditions enrolment in the Lifeline or ACP Benefits upon enrolment in both.
The ACP does not require customers to enter into a new agreement with their internet service provider (ISP). It is important to keep in mind that if you do upgrade your plan, you may be responsible for higher monthly fees. If you have any questions regarding the enrollment process, please call the ACP helpline at 1 (877) 384-2575.
The Affordable Connectivity Program provides a discount of up to $30 per month toward broadband internet service for eligible households and up to $75 per month for qualifying households on qualifying Tribal lands. The benefit also provides up to $100 per household discount toward a one-time purchase of a computer, laptop, or tablet if the program recipient contributes more than $10 and less than $50 toward the purchase price.
A household is eligible if the household income is at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines or if any (does not have to be all) member of the household meets at least one of the criteria below:
- Participates in certain assistance programs, such as SNAP, Medicaid, Federal Public Housing Assistance, SSI, WIC, or Lifeline;
- Participates in Tribal specific programs, such as Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance, Tribal TANF, or Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations;
- Participates in the National School Lunch Program or the School Breakfast Program, including through the USDA Community Eligibility Provision;
- Received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year; or
- Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating provider's existing low-income internet program.
Enrollment is now open. Eligible households can enroll through a participating internet service provider or directly with the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) using an online or mail-in application. Additional information about the Affordable Connectivity Program is available at https://www.fcc.gov/acp, or by calling 1 (877) 384-2575 between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. any day of the week.