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The Affordable Connectivity Program, administered by the FCC, aims to make broadband access more affordable for households for essential needs like employment, education, and healthcare.
To accomplish the goal of getting more people connected, the ACP provides a discount on internet service, plus a device discount for those who need a connected computer or tablet.
Below, I'll guide you through exactly what you get if you're eligible for the ACP and how to use your benefits.
There are two parts to this federal government assistance program - an internet discount and a device discount. Both benefits must be used with the same service provider.
Affordable Connectivity Program internet discount
In terms of internet access, eligible households can receive:
- Up to a $30 monthly service discount on high-speed internet service
- Up to a $75 monthly discount if you live on qualifying Tribal lands
- Up to a $75 monthly discount if you live in a high-cost area (defined by remoteness and/or availability and cost of local broadband service)
Affordable Connectivity Program device discount
Each eligible household may receive a one-time discount of up to $100 for buying a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from authorized vendors, provided they contribute between $10 and $50 toward the total cost.
How to use your ACP device discount
If you've already qualified for the ACP, you might have noticed it's a bit challenging to find internet providers that provide discounted computers as part of the program. Check out our guide to the ACP laptop program for potential resources to take advantage of the computer discount.
There are several providers that work with the ACP to provide discounted tablets. Use our ACP companies in your area tool to find providers that may offer this benefit.
Each household can use one monthly service discount and one device discount.
How to qualify for ACP benefits
To qualify for the Affordable Connectivity Program, you must have a household income at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines or participate in certain federal assistance programs.
Examples of qualifying assistance programs include:
- Receiving a Federal Pell Grant in the current award year
- Qualifying for an existing low-income internet program from a participating service provider.
- Free and reduced-price school lunch or breakfast program
- SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program)
- Federal public housing assistance
Tribal-specific programs for eligibility include:
- Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance
- Tribal TANF
- Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations
- Income-based Tribal Head Start
For a complete guide to the Affordable Connectivity Program eligibility criteria, see Do you qualify for ACP?
How to use your ACP benefits
The great thing about this program is that many internet service providers offer ACP-eligible households Affordable Connectivity Program plans that are priced to cost you nothing out of pocket. That means you could get free home internet or a free cell phone plan if you qualify.
Affordable Connectivity Program Internet plans
If you're concerned that ACP internet will be the bottom of the barrel, don't worry. The government requires that ACP-eligible households receive high-speed internet plan options, giving you plenty of power for all your daily tasks.
Learn more about Affordable Connectivity Program providers and what they offer by contacting a participating provider near you.
Affordable Connectivity Program cell phone plans
Did you know that you can use your ACP benefits for your cell phone service? As long as your plan has data and the carrier is a participating provider, your internet discount can be applied to your wireless bill.
If you go with a low-cost carrier, called an MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator), you could slash your phone bill down to nothing or very close. These carriers operate on the AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon networks, which means you get the same quality and coverage as you're used to.
They offer a range of flexible prepaid plans at a fraction of the cost of the major carriers. In fact, one participating ACP phone carrier, Red Pocket Mobile, also participates in the ACP tablet discount.
If you don't qualify for the ACP, these low-cost carriers are a great way to go. You'll save up to $700 a year without sacrificing your reliable 4G LTE and 5G wireless coverage.
Affordable Connectivity Program benefits FAQs
ACP benefits include financial assistance with access to the internet, as well as a $100 discount on a connected device.
Use your benefit for home internet or on your cell phone plan. Even if you don't qualify for the ACP, you can still save hundreds of dollars by switching to a low-cost phone carrier.