The Affordable Connectivity Program:
Who’s Eligible, and How to Apply

couple using laptop

The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) is expanding. 

At a White House ceremony on May 9th, President Biden announced a landmark commitment from 20 internet service providers—including Comcast, Charter, Cox and Mediacom—to provide ACP-eligible households with robust high-speed internet service for free, after redeeming their monthly subsidy.

And here’s the good news—one of those eligible households may be yours. Let’s explore everything that you need to know: how to check eligibility, how to apply, and how to choose a provider. 

Qualify for free internet in three easy steps

Here’s how the partnership works: the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) provides a subsidy of up to $30 per month toward internet service for eligible households (up to $75 per month for households on qualifying Tribal lands). For their part, participating internet service providers are rolling out high-speed plans with 100 Mbps download speeds of $30 a month or less for ACP customers. By applying their ACP benefit to these plans, eligible households can enjoy high-speed internet at no cost.

How do you sign up for the program? Visit the ACP website and complete these three easy steps: 

Find Out If You Qualify: There are three different ways to qualify for the ACP benefit. These include:

    • Your income is at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.
    • You or someone in your household meets at least one of the criteria below:
      • Participates in certain federal assistance programs, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Medicaid, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA), or Lifeline
      • Participates in Tribal specific programs, such as Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance, Tribal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (Tribal TANF), or Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations
      • Participates in the National School Lunch Program or the School Breakfast Program, including at USDA Community Eligibility Provision schools
      • Received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year
    • Your household meets the eligibility criteria for a participating provider’s existing low-income internet service

Claim Your ACP Benefit: There are multiple ways to apply for the ACP. You can apply online, by mail in either English or Spanish, or directly through your internet service provider—which brings us to step #3.

Contact a Participating Provider: Once your application is approved, the next step is to contact a participating internet service provider to choose a plan and apply your benefit to that plan. A list of service providers that offer high-speed plans for $30 a month or less can be found here. If you apply your ACP benefit to one of these plans, you will receive internet at no cost. 

ACP-eligible households can also receive a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from certain participating providers, with a small copay. 

Higher speeds, greater opportunities

This new commitment from the nation’s largest service providers will bring broadband to more homes and at greater speeds than ever seen before: 100 Mbps at a minimum, enough for a typical family of four to video conference, stream shows and game. And with higher speeds comes a whole series of enhanced features paving the way to the internet of the future. 

The best thing is, for many households, all of this comes absolutely free. To find out more about the ACP—and its importance in closing the digital divide—click here.