There is a new federal subsidy program that can help low-income families pay for Internet service. The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), offered through many Internet service providers, gives households $30 per month to cover the cost of internet service and a one-time payment of $100 for computer devices for eligible households. Families on qualifying Tribal lands are eligible for up to $75 per month. ACP is a $14.2 billion program made possible by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act that was signed into law in 2021.
A household is eligible to receive ACP support if a member of the household meets at least one of the following criteria:
- Has an income that is at or below 200% of the federal poverty guidelines (for a family of four this is $55,500);
- Participates in certain assistance programs, such as SNAP, Medicaid, Federal Public Housing Assistance, SSI, WIC, or Lifeline (the FCC program to make communication services more affordable for low-income consumers);
- 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 in the current or immediately preceding 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.
Public housing and Section 8 residents are eligible for ACP funding based on their receiving housing assistance, and based on the qualifying income limits, many residents of LIHTC housing without rental assistance will also qualify. HUD has determined that this assistance does not count as income for housing program purposes.
Owners of affordable housing properties are encouraged to make residents aware of this subsidy since it can increase their internet connectivity without added expense.
ACP enrollment opened on December 31, 2021. Eligible households may enroll through a participating broadband provider or by (1) going to ACPBenefit.org to submit an online application or print a mail-in application, and (2) contacting their preferred broadband provider and selecting a plan. Additional information about the ACP is available at www.fcc.gov/ACP or by calling 877-384-2575 between 9 AM and 9 PM.