Updated on 12/03/22
The exciting new Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) began in early 2022, and it’s now providing millions of Americans with $30 discounts on their cell phone and internet bills. Combine it with the famous Lifeline free government cell phone program and you may get free unlimited talk, free unlimited texts, and free unlimited internet!
These incredible discounts are available in all 50 states plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Find how to qualify and then find all the service providers and plans available in your state by clicking here.
Here are the eleven most important things to know about the exciting Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP):
- The Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) program was a temporary program, but its replacement, the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) is a permanent program with hefty federal funding. How hefty? $14.2 billion dollars.
- EBB ends on March 1, 2022 but it will immediately be repackaged and replaced under the ACP banner that same day.
- Congress did something right for a change and approved the new program on November 15, 2021.
- The ACP benefit will provide a discount of up to $30 per month toward internet service for eligible households. Some experts complain that the old EBB program offered higher $50 per month discounts, but remember that the EBB began in the depths of the Covid crisis and unemployment is much lower now than then. Of course, that little consolation to those who are still unemployed.
- Qualifying households on qualifying Tribal lands can receive discounts of up to $75 per month.
- Added bonuses: The Federal Communications Commission says, “Eligible households can also receive a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from participating providers if they contribute more than $10 and less than $50 toward the purchase price.” How cool is that?
- Much like the Lifeline Free Government Cell Phone program, the ACP is limited to one monthly service discount and one device discount per household.
- The free government cell phone program and the ACP are completely unrelated. That means you can qualify for both programs simultaneously.
- There are a lot of different ways to qualify. According to the Federal Communications Commission, your family can qualify if:
- Has an income that is at or below 200% of the federal poverty guidelines;
- Participates in certain assistance programs, such as SNAP, Medicaid, Federal Public Housing Assistance, SSI, WIC, or Lifeline;
- Participates in Tribal specific programs, such as Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance, Tribal TANF, or Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations;
- Is approved to receive benefits under the free and reduced-price school lunch program or the school breakfast program, including through the USDA Community
- Eligibility Provision in the 2019-2020, 2020-2021, or 2021-2022 school year;
- Received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year; or
- Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating provider’s existing low-income program.
- You will be required to re-certify annually that you still qualify to receive your ACP benefits. This is identical to the process required to receive Lifeline Free Government Cell Phone benefits.
- Hundreds and hundreds of internet service providers in every state have already agreed to participate in this program. You can find a complete list of the service providers in your state on the FCC website.