The Affordable Connectivity Program

Resources for Next Century Cities Members

Affordable Connectivity Program Overview

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.

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.

Most Emergency Broadband Benefit recipients fully enrolled as of December 31, 2021 were automatically enrolled in the Affordable Connectivity Program as of March 1, 2022. The benefit for recipients not living on Tribal lands was reduced from $50 to $30 per month. Residents living on qualifying Tribal lands should continue receiving up to a $75 per month benefit under the ACP. You can learn more the program transition by visiting fcc.gov/broadbandbenefit.

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.

 

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.

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.

Eligible households on Tribal lands can receive a total monthly discount of up to $75.  You can find out more about which areas are eligible Tribal lands by visiting this site.

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.

Affordable Connectivity Outreach Grant Program

You can apply for ACP Outreach Grants until January 9, 2023!

There are four Affordable Connectivity Outreach Grant Programs:

• National Competitive Outreach Program (NCOP)
• Tribal Competitive Outreach Program (TCOP)
• Your Home, Your Internet (YHYI) Outreach Grants
• Navigator Pilot Program (NPP) Outreach Grants

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.

Local, State, and Federal Outreach Examples

  • Carson, California | Mayor Lula Davis-Holmes issued a statement in a press release discussing the EBB program.
  • Tucson, Arizona | Shared an informational flyer and issued a press release on their website.
  • Tazewell County, Virginia | Tazewell County Public Schools (TCPS) contributed an article to a local newspaper sharing information about the EBB program. 
  • 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.
  • Seattle, Washington | The Office of Information Technology has a Low-Cost Internet Access resource web page which includes information about the EBB program.
  • 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.
  • Somerville, Massachusetts | The City shared information on their website and allowed residents to sign up for alerts.
  • York County, Virginia | The EBB is included in the County’s Benefit Programs web page.
  • Boston, Massachusetts | The City’s Digital Equity Fund web page includes a link to the FCC’s EBB page.
  • San Miguel County, Colorado | The County posted a Tweet with a graphic publicizing the EBB and a link to more information.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Cambridge, Massachusetts | The City released a comprehensive digital equity study, which includes a recommendation that the City promote the EBB.
  • 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 encouraged New Mexicans to apply for EBBP.
 

“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.”

Tucson, Arizona, Mayor Regina Romero Tweet

“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."

Carson, California, Mayor Lula Davis-Holmes Tweet

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.

“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.”

Tucson, Arizona, Vice Mayor Nikki Lee Tweet

“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.”

Tazewell County, Virginia, Public Schools Director of Technology, Cynthia Beaver Tweet

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