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Affordable Communications Program - Overview

The Affordable Connectivity Program (APC) is a government program run by the Federal Communications Corporation. The purpose is to help low-income individuals access broadband services. In other words, ACP aims to level the playing field by assisting low-income individuals to afford the very same devices and internet services needed for everyday life. Internet access is integral for things like education, health, daily communication, and more.

ACP

What the Affordable Connectivity Program Provides

The Affordable Connectivity Program (which replaced the Emergency Broadband Benefit effective 12/31/21) provides a monthly discount on Internet services. The amount of the discount depends on certain criteria. For example, eligible households may receive a monthly discount of up to $30 or up to $75 a month for households on qualifying Tribal lands.

In addition to the monthly discount, there’s a one-time discount of up to $100 to apply towards the purchase of a desktop, laptop, or tablet, subject to a small co-pay ranging between $10 and $50. Keep in mind, that the internet service provider must participate in the Affordable Connectivity Program to provide such discounts. Not all carriers participate.

ACP Eligibility

To be eligible for the Affordable Connectivity Program, the household income has to meet one of the following criteria:

  • Participate in at least one government assistance program. Programs such as Medicaid, plump public housing, WIC, SNAP, and a host of others qualify. For more information on all of the particular programs visit the ACP website.

  • Have a household income that is at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.

  • Live on qualifying tribal lands and participate in one of the government assistance programs such as Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance, Tribal TANF, Head Start, and a few others. Please refer to the ACP website for a full listing of programs.

  • Receive a Federal Pell grant during the current award year.

  • Already enrolled in and receiving Lifeline Benefits. If you are already enrolled in Lifeline, you do not have to apply for ACP. Contact your Lifeline provider to see what ACP benefits they have to apply to your account.

Purchasing the Tablet

Once you meet the criteria visit Affordable Connectivity.gov, click Apply Now and submit an application. You have the option of completing the application or line or, you can print the application, fill it out and then mail it in. Once you have completed the ACP app and have been approved, go to one of the participating phone service providers and complete their application.

Internet

Here on this site, we have a listing of potential ACP participants, but it is not complete. If your local or preferred phone company is not on our list, that doesn't mean they don't participate. Call them to find out whether or not they offer ACP benefits. You might be surprised that more companies participate than you might have thought. Companies that offer landline services participate in the Affordable Connectivity Program. So don't rule out companies just because you don’t think they participate.

Lifeline and Affordable Connectivity Combination

If you’re not currently enrolled in Lifeline, you should do so. The eligibility requirements for ACP are the same as those for Lifeline. If you combine both programs, you will be entitled to broader benefits such as a free government tablet with unlimited talk/text and data.

Note: Only one free government phone and one free/discounted service per household.


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Last Modified: 18 November 2022

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