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As part of the FCC's Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), eligible households are qualified to receive a $100 discount on a laptop computer from a participating provider.

What does that mean, and how can you use your ACP benefit for a connected device? Let's dig into the details.

What is the ACP?

The Affordable Connectivity Program is a US government and Federal Communications Commission benefit designed to help low-income consumers with connected devices and access to the internet.

The ACP provides eligible households with financial assistance through a $30 monthly service discount on broadband service (up to $75 if you live on qualifying Tribal lands).

In addition, ACP recipients can use a one-time discount of $100 on a qualifying connected device, with a copay between $10 and $50.


How to use the ACP device discount

To take advantage of the laptop discount, you need to apply for the ACP and wait for approval. Alternatively, some providers have their own ACP application process you can complete in order to qualify for the discount.

ACP laptop requirements

It's important to note that if you want to use the laptop program and the internet discount, ACP terms stipulate that you must get your internet service and laptop from the same provider.

There are dozens of internet service providers that participate in the internet discount portion of the program; however, not all of them offer devices. The easiest way to get your laptop is to ensure you're using a participating ACP provider.

Affordable Connectivity Program laptop providers

In response to this FCC Internet program, some companies have come up with unique solutions to help low-income families get connected with laptops. Participating laptop providers include:

  • Human-I-T: This non-profit helps close the digital divide by offering discounted laptops and high-speed internet service. They are an Affordable Connectivity Program provider, plus you can apply right on their website.
  • PCs for People: This company is another non-profit working to increase digital inclusion. They help hook you up with high-speed internet and an ACP-eligible laptop computer. You can apply directly through their website.

You can also enter your ZIP code into our handy tool to find ACP companies in your area.


Alternatives to the ACP laptop program

Since most internet service companies don't sell computers, using your program benefit can be a challenge. Fortunately, there are other ways to get connected to the internet and use your ACP discount.

ACP tablet program

Eligible households may use their ACP device discount to purchase a tablet instead of a laptop. There are many more providers offering tablets than laptops, so this route may be an easier way to get connected.

ACP tablet providers

Most of the participating providers offering an ACP tablet are smaller companies, including low-cost phone carriers called MVNOs (Mobile Virtual Network Operators).

Some ACP tablet providers include:

  • AirTalk Wireless
  • Q Link Wireless
  • Assurance Wireless
  • Red Pocket Mobile

These providers let you use your $100 ACP device credit to purchase an internet-capable tablet for a copay of between $10 and $50 out of pocket.

Once you qualify for ACP benefits and get your device, you can then apply your internet discount to a data plan. Remember, you must get your internet service from the same provider furnishing your device.


What to do if you aren't eligible for the ACP

If it happens that your household income doesn't meet the eligibility criteria for the Affordable Connectivity Program, but you still need to save money on your internet access, we've got you covered.

As I mentioned above, MVNOs are low-cost carriers that offer 4G LTE and 5G wireless coverage across the major networks.

Switching to an MVNO will save you up to $700 annually on your cell phone plan. That's more than double what the ACP monthly discount saves you. These budget-friendly carriers offer flexible, no-contract plans, including unlimited data plans.


ACP laptop program FAQs


Recap

Finding a participating provider for the ACP laptop program can be challenging. Check out the resources listed above, and consider going with a cheap cell phone plan to maximize your savings.

Want more information on programs that could help you get connected? Find out more about free government cell phones and services.

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