What is the Affordable Connectivity Program

American citizens occasionally have to deal with various expenses, whether it’s housing, food, utilities, or anything else. The price of the internet is another regular expense that consumers need to deal with. Actually, during the country’s lockdowns, many people noticed how their internet was unable to keep up with needs such as education, employment, healthcare, and more. The government recognized that certain people may require assistance in accessing this service. That is why the Affordable Connectivity Program was created.

Understanding the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP)

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) provides ACP as one of its supportive programs for people in need. This program provides households that meet the requirements with a monthly internet subscription savings of up to $30. Families that live on qualified tribal lands are eligible for a discount of up to $75 per month, which is an even greater savings opportunity. 

Households can earn a one-time discount of up to $100 towards the purchase of an electronic item such as a laptop, tablet, or desktop computer in addition to the monthly discount. It is important to remember that you must buy the electronics from participating vendors (so long as they contribute more than $10 but less than $50 to the cost of the purchase). Only one device discount and one monthly service discount are available per household.

ACP Eligibility

Households must be at or below 200% of the federal poverty level to qualify for this program. Each year, the Federal Poverty Guidelines might change. Nonetheless, the income limits for households in the 48 contiguous states, D.C., and Territories in 2023 would be as follows:

  • $29,160 for a household of one
  • $39,440 for a two-person family
  • $49,720 for a family of 3
  • $60,000 for a family of 4
  • $70,280 for a family of 5
  • $80,560 for a family of 6
  • $90,840 for a family of 7
  • $101,120 for a family of 8
  • Another $10,280 for each additional individual

The income limits for households in Hawaii and Alaska are different though. The Alaska income limits in 2023 are:

  • $36,420 for a household of one
  • $49,280 for a two-person family
  • $62,140 for a family of 3
  • $75,000 for a family of 4
  • $87,860 for a family of 5
  • $100,720 for a family of 6
  • $113,580 for a family of 7
  • $126,440 for a family of 8
  • An additional $12,860 for every additional individual

On the other hand, the Hawaii income limits in 2023 are:

  • $33,540 for a household of one
  • $45,360 for a two-person family
  • $57,180 for a family of 3
  • $69,000 for a family of 4
  • $80,820 for a family of 5
  • $92,640 for a family of 6
  • $104,460 for a family of 7
  • $116,280 for a family of 8
  • An additional $11,820 for every additional individual

What Else?

Additionally, households can be eligible if one of the following applies to a member of their family:

  • During the current award year, received a Federal Pell Grant.
  • Meets the requirements for a participating provider’s existing low-income internet program.
  • Have received benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Medicaid, Public Housing, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) nutrition program, the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), the School Breakfast Program (SBP), the Veterans Pension, the Survivor Benefits, or Lifeline.
  • Receives benefits from the Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance, Tribal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations, or (income-based) Tribal Head Start.

How to Apply for ACP?

The federal website AffordableConnectivity.gov is where you should go if you want to take advantage of this assistance option. On this website, you may apply. You can also choose to print out an application and mail it in.

To apply the discount to your plan, your provider (if they are participating) might ask you to fill out a different application. To choose a service plan, you must both apply for the program and get in touch with a participating provider.

Other ACP Benefits to Remember

In addition to affordable services, the program provides participants with other benefits. These benefits include the following:

  • Finding a service package for clients that satisfies both their needs and their budget.
  • Make sure that clients may be able to get internet services regardless of their credit history.
  • Ensuring that service providers cannot stop clients from benefiting from this program, even if they have unpaid bills.
  • Protecting clients from being forced to purchase pricey, poor plans to receive ACP benefits.
  • Ensuring that early termination fees are not the responsibility of the client.
  • Financial support through discounts reduces the chance of financial difficulty.
  • Allowing clients to switch service providers or plans.
  • Being able to file a complaint about ACP with the FCC.

Frequently Asked Questions

Consumers typically have questions after hearing about ACP. Here are answers to some questions that you could also have.

Which Service Providers Participate in the ACP?

ACP has a large number of service providers. There will be many operators in each location. As a result, you may find that multiple participating providers are available in some areas. Reach out to local service providers for further information. Furthermore, a list of participating providers is available on this government website, sorted by state and territory.

Will I Receive the Discount Funds Directly Each Month?

Not exactly! Households who participate in this program will not receive the discount funds directly. Alternatively, the participating service provider would get those funds. The service that the household receives can then be applied by the provider.

How Many Households Are Eligible For ACP Benefits?

Millions of households benefit from the ACP. There were more than 10 million participating households as of February 2023. Even though there are millions of participants right now, there are still a lot of individuals who may be able to use this option for aid but do not even know about it.

Where Can I Find More Details About This Program?

You can visit this government website to check out additional commonly asked questions. It has a ton of resources and can give you a lot of information. You may also contact the ACP Support Center by calling 877-384-2575 if you need to speak with someone.

Bottom Line

Finding an internet service that satisfies your requirements and budget can be a challenge for many people. Therefore,  check to see whether you are eligible for programs like the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). Applying for and meeting the requirements of this program may be easy if you currently get government assistance or are low income. You should get in touch with your local service providers for more information on your possibilities. On the other hand, there is so much information available online or by calling the ACP Support Center at 877-384-2575.