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If you're wondering whether you're eligible for the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), stay tuned because I'm going to guide you through the program basics and exactly how you can qualify.
What is the ACP?
The Affordable Connectivity Program, brought to you by the FCC, is all about making it easier for families to have the broadband service they need for things like jobs, school, and healthcare.
Benefits available with the ACP
There are two aspects to the Affordable Connectivity Program, both designed to make your internet service more affordable.
- Monthly discount of up to $30 on your internet bill, or $75 If your household is located on qualifying Tribal lands or in a high-cost area. Cell phone plans with data also qualify.
- Up to $100 off a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet, as long as you make a copay between $10 and $50 toward the cost.
How to qualify for the ACP
Eligibility for this federal government assistance program is based on income and household size.
You might be eligible for ACP benefits if your household income is equal to or less than 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.
Or, you might also qualify if anyone in your home:
- Has received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year
- Fits the low-income criteria for an internet plan from any of the participating providers
- Is a part of assistance programs like:
- Free and reduced-price school lunch program or school breakfast program
- SNAP (Supplement Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly food stamps)
- Federal public housing assistance like Section 8, PBRA, Public Housing, or housing initiatives for American Indians, Alaska Natives, or Native Hawaiians.
- SSI (Supplemental Security Income)
- Veterans benefits, such as Pension or Survivor Benefits.
- Lifeline program
For those living on eligible Tribal lands, you could also qualify if you're part of:
- Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance
- Tribal TANF
- Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations
- Tribal Head Start (if you're income-eligible)
If you apply online, you may get instant approval if the National Verifier system can confirm your eligibility right away. If not, you may need to submit additional documentation.
What to do if you don't qualify for ACP
Don't worry if you don't meet any of the ACP eligibility criteria. You can still save just as much money as you would with the discount by switching to a low-cost phone carrier.
MVNOs - or Mobile Virtual Network Operators - are affordable carriers that operate on the three major networks. They offer a wide variety of cell phone plans at a fraction of the cost, so you don't have to give up quality or coverage to save money.
Do I Qualify for ACP FAQs
There are multiple ways to qualify for the Affordable Connectivity Program. You may be eligible if your household income meets the required level or if you participate in certain government assistance programs.
If you qualify for this assistance program, you could potentially get your internet or cell phone plan free. If you aren't eligible for the ACP, you can still save hundreds of dollars per year by switching to a low-cost carrier.