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The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) is an FCC initiative that helps ensure families can afford the broadband service they need for things like work, school, and medical care.
Let's take a look at what the ACP consists of and who is eligible to receive the ACP discount:
What is the Affordable Connectivity Program?
The ACP provides the following benefits to eligible households:
- Up to $30 off your internet bill every month, or up to $75 off if you live on certain Tribal lands or in a high-cost area
- A one-time discount of up to $100 on a laptop, desktop, or tablet, with a minimum copay of $10 and a maximum of $50
The ACP is limited to one monthly discount and one device discount per qualifying household.
How to qualify for the Affordable Connectivity Program
The ACP is an income-based initiative. There are many ways to qualify for this federal assistance.
You might be eligible if your household income is at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. Or, you could also qualify due to your participation in certain government assistance programs, such as:
- You got a Federal Pell Grant in the current award year.
- You meet the criteria for an existing low-cost internet plan from a participating provider.
- You participate in one of these government assistance programs:
- Free or reduced-price school lunch or breakfast programs
- Federal housing help like Section 8, PBRA, or public housing
- Special housing programs for Native communities
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Veterans Pension or Survivor Benefits
- Lifeline program
If you participate in one of the following programs and also live on qualifying Tribal lands, you could be eligible too:
- Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance
- Tribal TANF
- Food Distribution on Indian Reservations
- Income-based Tribal Head Start
What can I use the ACP for?
There are two ways to access the internet using your ACP benefit.
Use the ACP for home internet
A wide selection of both large and small internet service providers offer Affordable Connectivity Program plans.
Some internet providers have designed plans that are priced so that you pay nothing if you use your ACP benefit. Or, you can opt for a more expensive plan and pay the difference between the discount and plan price yourself.
Use the ACP for a cell phone plan
Did you know you can use the Affordable Connectivity Program for cell phone service? The only requirement is that your plan must include data.
The really nice thing is that if you switch to a low-cost carrier - called an MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator) - you may be able to get your phone service plan free. Because these carriers have such low prices, even if your ACP benefit doesn't completely cover your bill, you'll still pay a nominal amount.
MVNOs use the AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon networks to provide reliable 4G LTE and 5G wireless coverage at a fraction of the cost.
Use our convenient ACP company locator tool to find ACP companies in your area. Just click the link and enter your ZIP code.
What if I don't qualify for the ACP?
If your income doesn't meet the eligibility criteria or you don't participate in any of the qualifying programs, no worries. You can still save money on internet access through your cell phone plan.
If you switch to an MVNO, as I mentioned above, you can save up to $700 a year on your wireless bill.
Whether or not you qualify for the ACP, these budget carriers offer a variety of benefits:
- Cost savings: Plans cost half or less of what the major carriers charge.
- Flexibility: There are no contracts, which means you can switch carriers anytime you wish.
- Quality coverage: MVNOs use the networks you trust to provide mobile service. Choose from the AT&T, T-Mobile, or Verizon networks.
- Plan options: Low-cost carriers offer a wide selection of plan choices, from unlimited talk and text all the way up to unlimited data plans.
Affordable Connectivity Program FAQs
The ACP helps struggling families get the internet access they need for many everyday tasks.
If your household is eligible for the Affordable Connectivity Program, you may qualify for free or low-cost home internet or cell phone service. There are many ways to qualify, and the ACP application process is quick and convenient.