Nowadays, internet prices are skyrocketing, since the demand for this service is increasing every day. It is also getting harder for individuals living on a tight budget to be able to afford an internet connection. Whether it is your online job, school work, or just entertainment purposes, the internet is a reliable element in day-to-day tasks. Moreover, the coronavirus pandemic has shown that having an internet connection is a basic necessity that everyone should be able to afford.
To deal with this, the US government introduced a temporary subsidy program when COVID was in full swing called the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program. EBBP was meant to help people from middle to lower socio-economic classes to be able to afford an internet connection as well as those who had lost their jobs due to the coronavirus pandemic. Moreover, EBBP would offer $50 off every month on an eligible person’s internet bills. Most internet service providers agreed to participate in the program. For instance, if you were found eligible, you could subscribe to any of the Xfinity internet plans and still receive $50 off every month.
But this year, the Emergency Broadband Benefit program was shut down and replaced with the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), a broadband-focused initiative signed by President Joe Biden in November 2021. Just like the EBBP, ACP also supports lower-income households to be able to afford the internet connection in this rapidly changing world. Eligible persons would receive a discount of $30 every month on their internet bill. By July 2022, around 13 million households in the US signed up for this program.
Eligibility Criteria For ACP
If you are interested in signing up for this program, you need to make sure whether you are eligible first. One member of a household needs to meet the eligibility criteria for the whole family to use the discounted internet.
If you are participating in the Lifeline program, you are eligible for the Affordable Connectivity program. You will receive a discount of $9 on your internet bill every month ($34 per month for individuals belonging to Tribal lands).
If you are participating in other governmental assistance plans, that also makes you eligible for ACP. These include Federal Public Housing Assistance, Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women Infants and Children, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, and Supplemental Security Income.
Moreover, if your income is less than or equal to 200% of the Federal Poverty guidelines, you can also opt for Affordability Connectivity Program.
How To Apply For ACP?
If found eligible, you can apply for the ACP by;
- Inputting your information in the ACP portal online
- Printing out the application form, filling it out, collecting all required documents, and having it sent to ACP Support Center, PO Box 7082, London, KY 40742.
- Reach out to your ISP if they participate in the ACP and they will assist you throughout the whole process.
The documents you will need to prepare will be proof of income i.e. tax return, pay stub, or Social Security statement of benefits. Or it could be proof of program participation along with approval letters, benefit verification letters, or statements of benefits.
After you have submitted your documents to the ACP, you will need to inform your internet service provider of your participation in ACP so that they can apply the discounts to your internet bills. Also, take this opportunity to upgrade your internet plan and get more internet speeds for lesser charges.
The Affordable Connectivity Program is a great opportunity for middle to lower-income households to apply for internet service on a discounted basis. They don’t have to worry about living without the internet or having to pay a hefty price on their internet bill. They can simply sign up to the ACP to avail of the discounted price. However, only one household can have only one participant for the ACP which means you cannot get multiple discounts within the same household. Otherwise, you will be disqualified from receiving benefits from the ACP.
Hence, if you are eligible for the ACP, go ahead and submit all the required documents so that you can receive a $30 discount on your internet bill every month ($75 if you belong to Tribal Areas).