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Independent Living News & Policy from the National Council on Independent Living

Information Alert: Affordable Access to Broadband

On June 13, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights will host an educational webinar called “Internet for All: The Affordable Connectivity Program and the Need for Digital Connectivity.” Attendees will hear from experts on the importance of the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), which aims to connect all people in the U.S. to affordable, reliable high-speed internet.

White House Announcement on Providing Affordable Access to Broadband

THE AFFORDABLE CONNECTIVITY PROGRAM (ACP)

President Biden and Vice President Harris worked with Democrats and Republicans to create the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP)—the largest high-speed internet affordability program in our nation’s history. Experts estimate that 48 million households—or nearly 40% of households in the country—qualify for the ACP either because their income is at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level, or because a member of the household meets one of the other criteria below.

  • Participates in one of the following programs:
    • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as Food Stamps
    • Medicaid
    • Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)
    • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
    • Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA)
    • Veterans Pension and Survivors Benefit
    • Free and Reduced-Price School Lunch Program or School Breakfast Program, including at U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Community Eligibility Provision schools
    • Federal Pell Grant (received in the current award year)
    • Lifeline
    • Certain Tribal assistance programs, including Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance, Head Start (only households meeting the income qualifying standard), Tribal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (Tribal TANF), and Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations
  • Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating broadband provider’s existing low-income internet program.

Under the terms of the ACP, an eligible household that signs up for the program will receive a discount of up to $30/month on any internet service plan a participating provider offers. Households on Tribal Lands are eligible for a discount of up to $75/month. As of now, more than 1,300 internet service providers participate in the program, and more than 11.5 million households have signed up to receive the ACP benefit.

Apply for this benefit at https://www.fcc.gov/acp. Or, if you need to speak with someone about your eligibility for the ACP benefit or your application status, please call the ACP Support Center at (877) 384-2575.

Comments

  1. Kathleen says

    While I am happy to FINALLY see some real world ACTION in the high cost of internet- many rural, rural/urban areas have yet to get true broadband access for residential users. Without the infrastructure, there is no access. Where I live in Northern California, there is AT&T DSL (slowest speed, but most reliable), Mediacom cable (pricey, unreliable, limits on users- only two can be logged in at a time) or Wi-Max from Lake County Broadband which requires line-of-sight and additional hardware. Mobile phone services still market the gimmick of a “portable hotspot” – which is available on any smart phone these days.I looked into getting the discount internet service & it requires I pay $80 for a $20 device (hotspot box) & be contractually tied to pay full price when the gov’t funding for the program runs out. Where is the real choice here? We are on the other side of the ridge from Mendocino, Sonoma, & Napa Counties but are 25 yrs behind. The challenges for being disabled along with income restrictions & COVID make it that much harder to stay safe and sane. Internet is a primary need when living outside metro areas. With extreme fire behavior over the last several years, social media has been my lifeline to time critical information in order to make informed decisions on when to evacuate, sharing vetted info to the community…Connectivity limitations affect first responders coming here from out-of-county. Comms dead spaces endanger them and the residents. We Deserve 1st World infrastructure.

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