The ACP is Winding Down: 3 Things You Need to Know

Close Up on Hands of a Black African American Man Working on Laptop Computer while Sitting Behind Desk in Cozy Living Room. Freelancer Working From Home. Browsing Internet, Using Social Network.

 The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) – which provides free or low-cost internet service to 23 million American households – is winding down.

That is…unless Congress decides to extend the popular federal program.

Why it matters: The ACP has been instrumental in bridging the digital divide.

  • 72% of ACP subscribers use their internet service to schedule or attend healthcare appointments.
  • 48% use it to complete work or apply for jobs.
  • 75% use it for schoolwork (among 18-24-year-old subscribers).

But here’s the kicker: Despite bipartisan support, efforts to pass funding legislation in Congress have fallen short – and the ACP is running out of money.

1. What’s Happening Right Now

As Congress has yet to secure additional funding, here’s what ACP participants can expect:

  • April 2024: The last month ACP households will receive their full monthly subsidy.
  • May 2024: Most ACP households will receive partial monthly subsidies from their internet provider.
  • June 2024: Without further funding, the ACP and the monthly subsidy will end.

Yes, but: Renewed efforts in Congress provide some optimism as we continue to keep up the pressure.

2. How to Navigate a Post-ACP Era

To assist ACP households in preparing for the program’s conclusion, internet providers were required to send three separate notices detailing the program’s end and its impact on internet bills and services.

These notices may have also included information on alternative internet options and resources for transitioning to post-ACP arrangements – including:

  • Comcast’s Internet Essentials – a $9.95/month service for those who receive NSLP, housing assistance, Medicaid, SNAP, or other select government programs.
  • Comcast’s Lift Zones – whether you are a Comcast customer or not, you can access 1,250 WiFi-connected Lift Zones nationwide that provide free internet access in neighborhood locations.
  • Cox’s Connect2Compete Internet Plan – a $9.95/month service for families with a child in grades K-12 in the home who participate in the NSLP, SNAP, or other select federal programs.
  • Spectrum’s Internet Assist – an affordable internet option for low-income households that benefit from the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) of the NSLP, or Supplemental Security Income (for applicants age 65+ only).

Of note: If you qualified for the ACP, you may be eligible for federal assistance through the Lifeline program.

3. How to Continue the Fight

Let’s not give up hope.

Help us advocate for the extension of the ACP – take action today.

Our collective efforts can shape the future and secure this essential benefit for those in need.

Together, we can make a difference.