The Affordable Connectivity Program
Resources for Next Century Cities Members
What is the Affordable Connectivity Program?
The COVID-19 pandemic underscored the need for fast, affordable, and reliable broadband to support distance learning, remote work, and telehealth. For those in low-income households, maintaining an Internet connection often means choosing between other necessities. To address the immediate need for Internet access, Congress created the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program (“EBB”) to address affordability, one of the main barriers to adoption.
After a successful year of over 8.5 million enrollments, Congress recognized the need to codify a permanent affordability program and created the Affordable Connectivity Program (“ACP”). The program, run by the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”), offers a monthly discount to offset the cost of broadband Internet subscriptions, helping those that are struggling with connectivity. In addition, the program provides a one-time discount on a laptop, desktop, or tablet computer.
The Transition from the Emergency Broadband Benefit
Emergency Broadband Benefit recipients fully enrolled as of December 31, 2021 will automatically continue to receive their current monthly benefit until March 1, 2022. You can learn more the program transition and steps you may need to take to stay enrolled after March 1st, by visiting fcc.gov/broadbandbenefit.
Which internet service providers are participating?
Various broadband providers, including those offering wired, wireless, and mobile broadband will be participating in the Affordable Connectivity Program. Depending on where you live, you may have a choice of providers. Check with the broadband providers in your area to learn about their plans for program participation and eligible service offerings. You can find a list of participating providers by state and territory by clicking the button below.
How can I support enrollment in my community?
Who is eligible?
A household is eligible if one member of the household:
- Has an income that is at or below 200% of the federal poverty guidelines; or
- 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.
What benefits will I receive from the Affordable Connectivity Program?
The benefit provides a discount of up to $30 per month toward internet service for eligible households and up to $75 per month for households on qualifying Tribal lands. 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.
The Affordable Connectivity Program is limited to one monthly service discount and one device discount per household.
What is the enhanced benefit amount for residents on Tribal lands?
When can I apply?
You can apply immediately! There are two steps to enroll in the Affordable Connectivity Program.
1) Go to ACPBenefit.org to submit an online application or print out a mail-in application.
2) Contact your preferred participating provider to select a plan and have the discount applied to your bill.
Communities Hard At Work
Learn about ways Next Century Cities and our member communities are working to inform residents about the Affordable Connectivity Program and get as many homes connected to the subsidy program. Check back often for updates on the latest advocacy from coast to coast.
Next Century Cities and Public Interest Allies Meet with FCC and USAC to Escalate Emergency Broadband Benefit Challenges
Since enrollment for the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program (“EBBP”) began in May 2021, 2.3 million people have signed up to receive assistance with their broadband bill. However, eligible participants have faced significant challenges to enrollment such as the requiring of a new service plan, mandatory opt-in to continuing services, language barriers, and burdensome identity verification.
NCC Submits Comments Advocating for an Effective and Inclusive Affordable Connectivity Program
The ACP is a permanent broadband assistance program authorized by Congress in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021 that will replace the temporary Emergency Broadband Benefit (“EBB”) Program. The new program will provide up to $30/month for participants to spend on a broadband service subscription.
Governor of Hawaii Supporting Connectivity for Residents
As the COVID-19 pandemic moves us deeper into a digital world, internet connectivity is more critical than ever to access essential services including education and healthcare. The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), which was created in response to COVID-19, is designed to modify and extend the existing Emergency Broadband Benefit Program (EBB). The Program will take effect on January 1, 2022 and continue providing discounts on internet service for low-income families statewide. ACP is funded through the $65 billion Infrastructure Investments and Jobs Act that was passed by Congress in November 2021.
Governor Hochul Announces Up To $30/Month Discount With Federal Affordable Connectivity Program
“The pandemic has shown us how access to reliable broadband is an essential lifeline to keep New Yorkers connected to loved ones and professional opportunities,” Governor Hochul said. “Internet connectivity for all New Yorkers, including low-income families, helps New Yorkers start a business, find a job, access healthcare, and communicate with loved ones.”
Mayor Fulop and Jersey City Housing Authority Help Close Digital Divide and Promote Digital Inclusion for Neediest Residents
Mayor Steven M. Fulop joins the Jersey City Housing Authority (JCHA) to announce the City’s latest initiative to expand broadband internet access throughout public housing developments by providing deeply discounted high-speed internet infrastructure and services in partnership with Andrena, a New Jersey based internet services provider.
New York City Launches ACP Guide
The City of New York has launched an online guide for residents to learn about and apply for the Affordable Connectivity Program. The webpage contains detailed information about the process.
State of Vermont Announces Launch of the Affordable Connectivity Program
The State of Vermont launched an informational page for residents that includes background on the ACP, eligibility information, and the necessary steps to enroll in the program.
State of Connecticut Releases Updated Outreach Materials
Connecticut has released updated outreach materials for the new Affordable Connectivity Program. The materials include information about the ACP and the transition process for residents currently enrolled in the EBB.
US Department of Education Releases ACP Guidance for School Districts
The Department of Education recently released program resources for schools and districts to support the transition from the Emergency Broadband Benefit to the Affordable Connectivity Program.
FCC Affordable Connectivity Program Available to Help Lower Cost of Internet Service
The Board of County Commissioners advises citizens that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has launched the Affordable Connectivity Program. The new long-term benefit will help lower the cost of broadband service for eligible households struggling to afford internet service.
North Carolina Publishes Assistance Materials About ACP
The North Carolina Department of Information Technology has published assistance materials for residents regarding the Affordable Connectivity Program.
King County, WA releases resident outreach material in five languages
King County, WA has released detailed information on the Affordable Connectivity Program for residents in a variety of languages. The materials cover eligibility, enrollment, and more.
The Wisconsin Public Service Commission Releases Resources
The WPSC has released a variety of resources to assist residents with the Affordable Connectivity Program. These include downloadable materials and a phone helpline.
New Jersey Department of Human Services Releases Lifeline & Affordable Connectivity Information
The New Jersey Department of Human Services has launched a new web page dedicated to providing resources for residents on low-cost and affordable broadband service programs.
AG Balderas Announces Affordable Connectivity Program for Internet Service
“At a time when the digital divide in New Mexico is among the worst in the nation, the Affordable Connectivity Program can help students in our communities that are suffering with lack of access to the internet,” said Attorney General Balderas. “I am pleased the Federal government is taking steps to make sure that our most vulnerable populations have equal access to the internet and education.”
Minnesota Office of Broadband Development Releases New Resources
The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development has released information on reduced rates for broadband service. Its new web page outlines programs, eligibility, and more.
Texas Comptroller Launches Page Sharing ACP Resources
The Comptroller’s Office in Texas has launched a resources page for residents to learn more about the Affordable Connectivity Program and other broadband funding opportunities.
New York State Department of Education Releases ACP Resources
The New York State Department of Education has released a new webpage that brings together a variety of connectivity resources for students and their families. The site lists a variety of programs designed to lower access and adoption burdens.
Resources from the Universal Service Administrative Company
The Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) is a non-governmental organization tasked with the administration of the FCC’s various broadband assistance programs, including the Affordable Connectivity Program. USAC’s Affordable Connectivity Program support hotline, (877) 384-2575, is open from 9am to 9pm EST, seven days a week. Consumers and providers can also email ACPSupport@usac.org with program questions.
The Emergency Broadband Benefit
The Emergency Broadband Benefit transitioned to the Affordable Connectivity Program on January 1, 2022. The below information is a highlight of NCC's work to support the EBB. For the most up to date information on the ACP, look above.
View NCC's Explainers
Local Governments are using press releases and web pages to announce the EBB program.
- Seattle, Washington | The Office of Information Technology has a Low-Cost Internet Access resource web page which includes information about the EBB program.
- Carson, California | Mayor Lula Davis-Holmes issued a statement in a press release discussing the EBB program, stating, “My colleagues and I are thankful for this great program critically needed by students and the unemployed to get digitally connected. A $50 monthly credit towards internet bills will bring noticeable relief to those affected by this pandemic.”
- Fairfax County, Virginia | includes EBB program information with COVID-19 broadband resources
- Albuquerque, New Mexico | The City hosts a map that displays public WiFi locations and also includes information about the EBB program on the webpage.
- Portland, Oregon | Made informational web pages available on the EBB Enrollment Process and EBB on Tribal Lands.
- Centre County, Pennsylvania | The County posted EBB flyer on their website
- Homer, Alaska | The City shared information about the FCC’s April 27th EBB webinar on its website.
- Lincoln, Nebraska | During the Mayor’s Neighborhood Roundtable, a provider representative shared information about the EBB and basic details are included in the meeting agenda.
- York County, Virginia | The EBB is included in the County’s Benefit Programs web page.
- San Miguel County, Colorado | The County posted a Tweet with a graphic publicizing the EBB and a link to more information
- Boston, Massachusetts | The City’s Digital Equity Fund web page includes a link to the FCC’s EBB page.
- Cambridge, Massachusetts | The City released a comprehensive digital equity study, which includes a recommendation that the City promote the EBB.
- Somerville, Massachusetts | The City shared information on their website and allowed residents to sign up for alerts.
- Tucson, Arizona | Shared an informational flyer and issued a press release on their website. Mayor Regina Romero said, “The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated disparities in access to services that have long existed in our community, especially when it comes to the digital divide. I encourage all Tucsonans who are eligible to apply for the Emergency Broadband Benefit to either help purchase a device or lower your internet bill.” Vice Mayor Nikki Lee stated that, “A pivotal part of Tucson’s economic resiliency is ensuring quality and affordable broadband is accessible to the entire community. The past year has shown how essential reliable internet access is for connecting to school, work, and countless other services. I was proud to champion the City of Tucson’s WiFi program, targeting key areas of need in our community. Now, thanks to President Biden and our federal leadership, everyone has the opportunity to receive free and fast online access.”
- Montgomery County, Virginia | The County posted a news update on their website promoting the EBB.
- Fort Worth, Texas | The City posted a news article promoting the EBB on their website.
- Bossier Parish, Louisiana | Added a news update about the EBB to its website.
- Blue Earth County, Minnesota | Posted a news alert on the County website.
- Burke County, North Carolina | Issued a news alert about the EBBP.
Local leaders are working to promote the EBB.
- Tazewell County, Virginia | Tazewell County Public Schools (TCPS) contributed an article to a local newspaper sharing information about the EBB program. TCPS Director of Technology Cynthia Beavers said, “While we have worked hard to provide access to households who do not have internet access at home through our wireless access points in the school parking lots and hot spots for online learners, this benefit program will help families to bring the internet into their own homes. It is not limited to online students and can, therefore, help a multitude of families within our communities. Families interested in participating should review the information at the website below for a list of participating providers and additional important information. I am pleased to serve as an outreach partner for this program, which means that we will keep our stakeholders updated by posting additional information as it becomes available on our division website.”
- Woodland Public Schools, Washington | Made information about the program available online and included contact information for the Family and Community Resource Center for additional support.
- The Maine Department of Education contributed an article to a community newspaper discussing the announcement of the EBB program and directing readers to the FCC’s website.
Federal partners have also published EBB resources.
- The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is hosting a free webinar on Thursday, Apr 15, 2021 from 3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. EST.
- The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Community Living included an announcement about the EBB program on its website.
- U.S. Congressman Tom O’Halleran’s Internet Access web page includes information about the EBB.
- Department of Education launched an outreach campaign that includes resources for school districts and universities who can help reach eligible students.
- Senator Heinrich encourages New Mexicans to apply for EBBP
Successful EBB outreach strategies include state outreach and partnerships.
- Gov. Evers and the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin are urging eligible residents to apply for the EBB program.
- Governor Cuomo announced the launch of New York’s Affordable Broadband Portal, which helps residents find EBB providers.
- Developmental Disabilities Council of Oklahoma makes EBB program information available on its website.
- Connecticut Office of State Broadband released a fact sheet answering questions about the EBB program.
- The Tennessee Department of Economic & Community Development includes the EBB program information alongside a list of COVID-19 broadband resources on its website.
- The Minnesota Department of Broadband Development includes EBB program information on its digital inclusion web page.
- The Kansas Corporation Commission publicized local EBB providers through a press release.
- The Maine Health and Human Services Department included an announcement about the EBB program on its website.
- The New York State Broadband Program Office announced participating EBB providers in a press release.
- Governor Polis of Colorado has announced that state agencies will work to connect eligible residents with the Emergency Broadband Benefit program.
- Western New York Library Resources Council made this EBB resource guide, https://wnylrc.libguides.com/EmergencyBroadbandBenefit/Home
- Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development posted an alert about the EBB on its COVID Recovery Resource Center web page.
- The Western New York Library Resources Council has added an Emergency Broadband Benefit resource page to their website.
- Ohio-K12 Help, which offers support for educators, included EBB program resources on its RemotEDx Connectivity Champions page and assists families in enrolling in the program.
- NC State shared resources about the EBB program online and includes a point of contact at the University who can provide assistance with enrollment.
- New York launched an Affordable Internet portal.
- California added the EBB to its list of COVID-19 support programs.
- The Washington DC Mayor’s Office issued a press release promoting the program.
- The Michigan Public Service Commission issued a press release promoting the EBB. Michigan Public Service Commissioner Tremaine Phillips said that, “As the COVID-19 pandemic has made clear, having high-speed internet access at home isn’t a luxury, but a necessity so that people have access to critical services such as remote learning and telemedicine and maintain the ability to stay in contact with family and friends during a difficult and isolating time.”
- In Pennsylvania, the departments of Human Services, Labor & Industry, and Education partnered to promote the EBB.