ACP or the Affordable Connectivity Program ensures households with affordable broadband services for school, work, etc. The pandemic has ultimately shown the importance of a good internet connection. But, home internet is not cheap, and people can struggle to pay the bills. However, an ACP provider offers qualifying customers free internet services with subsidies. But, there is an eligibility criterion following the facility. In 2021, the ACP came into being through the Infrastructure Act. A hefty 14.2 billion was provided to ensure long-term broadband affordability.
What Is ACP?
The Affordable Connectivity Program caters to the affordability of broadband by households. It is directed by the FCC or Federal Communications Commission to provide qualifying households with adequate internet services. The program replaced Emergency Broadband Benefit.
The low-income families can qualify for the facility and gain benefits. A discount of up to $30 per month is offered to eligible households. People can also get a one-time discount of $100 on purchasing a laptop, computer, or tablet under specific terms and conditions. The service is limited to one discount on one gadget per month.
Who Can Apply For The ACP?
An ACP provider will look into specific criteria before providing the service. A household is only eligible if the income is at or below 200% by the Federal Poverty Guidelines. Apart from this, if the family member meets at least one criteria below, they can apply for the service.
- A person who has received a Federal Pell Grant in the current award year.
- The person matches the eligibility criteria of the provider’s existing program related to low income.
- If the person participates in at least one of these programs - SNAP, SSI, WIC, Lifeline, Medicaid, etc.
- If the person lives in qualifying tribal lands.
How Does The Program Benefit Customers
- The service empowers customers to choose a plan that supports their needs. It also might be a plan the customer is already on.
- It ensures that households can access standard broadband facilities irrespective of their credit status.
- The program prohibits an ACP provider from excluding a person with previous debts from enrolling. People with past due balances can also apply for the program.
- It prevents customers from engaging in expensive or low-quality internet plans.
- It prevents customers from being liable for early termination fees.
- It reduces the potential of shocking bills and provides a dedicated service for ACP complaints.
Difference Between ACP And EBB?
The programs are similar yet different. EBB stands for Emergency Broadband Benefit. It was a temporary facility curated during the pandemic to support the needy. On the contrary, ACP is a long-term solution and caters to low-income households. The EBB offered $ 75 for qualifying families of Tribal households. However, the top benefit of the Affordable Connectivity Program is $ 30 per month. The programs might serve the purpose of providing adequate internet services to each household but have different structures.
The Affordable Connectivity Program is among the most significant investment programs for the broadband affordability gap. It supports households who need to keep up with the pace of the rapidly changing globe. The eligible people must prepare documents like proof of income, a tax return, warranty of program participation, approval letters, etc.
People can apply online through the portal. One can also fill out the application and send it to the support center via mail. Another way is to connect with a service provider and enquire about their participation. They will assist through the entire process. Remember, one cannot get a discount from more than one service provider or multiple discounts in a single household. If the income exceeds the poverty guidelines, one should take action within 30 days of the change.