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How To Sign Up For Cheaper Internet (Affordable Connectivity Program)

The U.S. government's $14 billion Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) helps low-income households access internet services. Here's how to apply.

The U.S. government’s Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) aims to help low-income households access internet connections with monthly credits, and there are three ways to sign up. Those who qualify for the assistance program will get a $30 credit per month toward the bill charged by their Internet Service Provider (ISP), while households that fall under the Tribal lands quota will get assistance worth $75. Building upon the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) program, the ACP also introduces new eligibility criteria and easier ways to access the benefits.

The ACP initiative is for households with an annual income that falls below 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. As per the updated HHS Poverty Guidelines that went into effect on January 12, 2022, a household with a single person earning below $13,590 falls below the poverty baseline in 48 states. It is set at $18,310 for a household with two individuals, at $23,030 for a three-person home, and goes all the way up to $46,630 for a household with eight members. For each new member beyond that number, a sum of $4,720 is added. The poverty guidelines for Alaska and Hawaii have been set at a slightly higher mark.

Following the EBB’s transition into ACP, the eligibility criteria have widened. Aside from a below-poverty line income, households that already avail government assistance programs such as SNAP, Medicaid, Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA), Veterans Pension and Survivors Benefit, and Federal Pell Grant recipients are also eligible. Beneficiaries of FCC’s Lifeline program are also eligible for availing assistance as part of ACP. Once the eligibility criterion has been fulfilled, there are three ways to apply for the Affordable Connectivity Program and receive monthly credits toward internet service payments.

How To Apply For The Affordable Connectivity Program

The U.S. government will let users apply for the program by three methods — mail, online, and by reaching out to their internet service provider. To apply via mail, users need to download the application and a Household Worksheet from the AFP website. Both documents need to be mailed to this address: ACP Support Center, PO Box 7081 London, KY 40742. For those looking to apply online, head over to the official ACP application page and follow the steps. The last option is to connect with one’s Internet Service Provider and check if they can extend ACP benefits. Recognizable names such as AT&T, Boost Mobile, and Verizon are already onboard. The complete list of broadband service providers that offer ACP assistance on a state-wise basis can be checked on this FCC database.

As for the documentation part of the application process, soft copies will only be required if users are sending their ACP form via mail. In this case, they need to furnish details such as income proof, tax return, Social Security benefits statement, participation proof for an existing program, and a statement of benefits. However, when applying online, a major part of the verification process will use online government databases of beneficiaries for programs such as SNAP, WIC, and Medicaid. The online application process is the easiest one with the fastest approval. For any further assistance, the U.S. government is also running a dedicated ACP support helpline at 877-384-2575. As of now, the government hasn’t confirmed how long the ACP initiative will run, aside from revealing that it has earmarked $14 billion for it. It is also worth noting that the assistance comes in the form of a discount that is directly credited to the internet service provider and doesn’t arrive as a check or credit in a person’s bank account.

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