The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) is a new program overseen by the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) that seeks to provide low-income households with affordable access to the internet. The program was established as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, which allocated $3.2 billion for the purpose of expanding access to high-speed internet for eligible households.
The ACP is designed to provide discounts on monthly broadband bills for eligible households. To qualify for the program, a household must meet certain income requirements, such as being at or below 135% of the federal poverty guidelines or participating in certain federal assistance programs, such as Medicaid or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
Participating households can receive discounts of up to $30 per month on their broadband bills, as well as a one-time discount of up to $100 for the purchase of a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet. The program is expected to help millions of low-income households access the internet, which has become increasingly necessary for things like remote work, online learning, and telehealth services.
USAC is responsible for administering the ACP, including verifying eligibility, disbursing funds to participating broadband providers, and ensuring compliance with program rules. The program is expected to run for several years, and USAC will provide ongoing updates and guidance to participating households and broadband providers.
Overall, the Affordable Connectivity Program is an important initiative aimed at addressing the digital divide and ensuring that all Americans have access to the internet, regardless of their income level.
- The household must have an income at or below 135% of the federal poverty guidelines OR participate in certain federal assistance programs, such as Medicaid or SNAP.
- The household must not have an existing or recently canceled broadband service.
- The household must not have outstanding debt for broadband service with the provider they are seeking to use for the ACP.
Steps to Apply:
- Confirm your eligibility: The first step is to confirm that your household meets the eligibility requirements for the ACP. You can check your eligibility by visiting the USAC website or calling their customer support line.
- Find a participating broadband provider: Once you have confirmed your eligibility, you will need to find a participating broadband provider in your area. You can search for participating providers on the USAC website.
- Apply for the program: To apply for the ACP, you will need to contact the participating broadband provider and provide them with your eligibility information. They will then work with USAC to verify your eligibility and enroll you in the program.
- Receive your discount: If your application is approved, you will begin receiving your monthly discount on your broadband bill, as well as a one-time discount for the purchase of a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet.
It’s worth noting that the ACP is a temporary program that is currently set to run until the funds allocated for it run out or until six months after the end of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the program may be extended or expanded in the future depending on its success and the ongoing need for affordable internet access for low-income households.