By Amy Hofmockel, Creative Technology Librarian & John Gargiulo, Supervising Librarian of Creative Technology
The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) is an FCC benefit program to help people afford internet services. If you qualify, the ACP can help pay for monthly internet service and even provide a one-time discount for an internet-capable device.
Depending on your internet provider, the benefit can be used for either:
- Home internet: the kind of internet you use for computers, laptops, and WiFi at home where the cable comes out of your wall and plugs into a modem first.
- Mobile service: the kind of internet that you use on the go with your cell phone or other mobile devices.
According to the Affordable Connectivity Program website, the benefit provides:
- Up to $30/month discount for internet service;
- Up to $75/month discount for households on qualifying Tribal lands; and
- A one-time discount of up to $100 for a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet purchased through a participating provider.
Ready to get started? Here’s what you need to know!
Am I eligible?
The first step is to determine if you are eligible for the ACP. There are several qualifying criteria, and only one member of the household (not the entire household) needs to meet one of the criteria below in order to be eligible:
- Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating provider’s existing low-income internet program;
- Received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year;
- Participates in one of these assistance programs:
- Free and Reduced-Price School Lunch Program or School Breakfast Program, including at U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Community Eligibility Provision schools,
- Federal Housing Assistance, including:
- Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program (Section 8 Vouchers),
- Project-Based Rental Assistance (PBRA)/Section 202/ Section 811,
- Public Housing,
- Affordable Housing Programs for American Indians, Alaska Natives or Native Hawaiians,
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI),
- Veterans Pension or Survivor Benefits, or
- Lifeline; or
- Participates in one of these assistance programs and lives on Qualifying Tribal lands:
- Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance,
- Tribal TANF,
- Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations,
- Tribal Head Start (income based).
Not sure if you qualify? Use GetACP.org’s handy questionnaire for more guidance »
I qualify! How do I apply?
There are two steps to enroll:
- Go to AffordableConnectivity.gov to submit an application or print out a mail-in application.
- After successfully applying for the ACP, contact your preferred participating provider to select a plan and have the discount applied to your bill.
Some providers may have an alternative application that they will ask you to complete. Please note that eligible households must both apply for the program and contact a participating provider to select a service plan.
The application is currently available in both English and Spanish. You select either language at the top of the online application page.
Apply for the ACP before contacting an internet service provider
Some internet service providers may offer “discounts” and “free” devices that are really just the ACP in disguise. Apply for the ACP before you contact an internet service provider to avoid bad deals and give yourself time to consider your different options for enrolling in affordable, quality internet service.
Save your application ID number to share with an internet service provider
After successfully applying for the ACP benefit, you will receive an application ID number. When contacting an internet service provider like Comcast or AT&T to enroll, tell them that you qualified for the ACP and provide them with your application ID number to apply the discount to your internet bill.
Keep your discount when changing internet service providers
Want to change internet providers? If you qualify for the ACP, you can keep that discount when you switch providers. Make sure to tell your new provider that you want to apply the ACP discount when you enroll.
Check to see if your internet provider offers the one-time $100 device discount
While your internet service provider is required to provide a monthly discount off your internet bill if you qualify for the ACP, they are not required to provide the ACP’s one-time $100 discount off the purchase of a device like a laptop or tablet. Because some internet service providers have opted out of this requirement, the device discount may not be available.
Need to scan a document or print the application?
The application may ask you to upload documents for verification purposes. The library has scanners you can use to scan your documents to an email or flash drive!
You can print remotely from anywhere and pick up same day, or use a library computer to print from any library location. Learn more about print, copy, scan, and fax services »
Once you get your internet working, you may find our other Tech Tips useful. We recommend:
- Navigating Google search results
- Using tabs in your internet browser
- Attach & download files with Gmail
Have a tech question?
Amy is a creative technology librarian who always looks for ways to create those “ah-ha!” moments for digital learners. She enjoys writing, gadgets, and baking.
John is a member of the library’s digital learning team and recent graduate of the University of Illinois MS in Library and Information Science program. He enjoys working with patrons to discover how we can demystify technology and shape it to help us with our different needs. He is also a musician and loves making noise.