August 14, 2023
Source: Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
FCC Highlights Historic Number of Low-Income Households Enrolled in Affordable Connectivity Program
Today, Federal Communications Commission [FCC] Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel announced more than 20 million households have enrolled in the agency’s Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), the nation’s largest broadband affordability program. Thanks to funding support in the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, millions of families who previously could not get online or struggled to pay for this modern-day necessity are now connected. Eligible low-income households can receive a discount of up to $30 per month toward internet service and up to $75 per month for eligible households on qualifying Tribal lands. Eligible households can also receive a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from participating providers if the household contributes more than $10 and less than $50 toward the purchase price.
“For a long time, closing the digital divide focused on one part of the equation—the lack of physical infrastructure to get online. But we know that for many people, even when there was technically access, the cost to get online was too high. Thanks to investments from Congress, we have new tools to tackle both challenges, including the Affordable Connectivity Program that is helping struggling families to get or stay online to pay for this modern-day necessity,” said Rosenworcel. “Enrolling more than 20 million eligible households is no small feat—and wouldn’t be possible without the partnership of organizations in rural, suburban, and urban communities across the country who are getting the word about this powerful program. We’ve made too much progress in helping families get online to turn back now.”
A household is eligible for the Affordable Connectivity Program if:
- Their household income is at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines, about $60,000 a year for a family of four or $29,000 a year for an individual;
- Anyone in the household, including children or dependents, participates in certain government assistance programs like SNAP, Medicaid, WIC, Federal Housing Assistance or others;
- Anyone in the household participates in the National School Lunch Program or the School Breakfast Program;
- Anyone in the household received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year;
- Anyone in the household already receives a Lifeline benefit; or
- A household may also qualify for the ACP through a participating provider’s existing low-income program.
In order to reach today’s enrollment milestone, the FCC heavily engaged local, state and federal organizations to serve as ACP outreach and awareness-raising partners. To date, the FCC has hosted or participated in more than 1,400 + virtual and in-person awareness and enrollment events, and offers outreach materials in more than 10 languages. In addition to closely collaborating with other Federal agencies to promote program enrollment, the FCC is also conducting a nationwide paid media public awareness campaign with the support of Congressional funding set aside for outreach efforts. Relatedly, the FCC has committed over $72 million in grants at the state and local level, with 228 ACP Outreach Grants issued to trusted state, local, and Tribal governments and community partners.
Along with extensive outreach efforts, the FCC also highlighted important consumer benefits to eligible households and outreach partners. These consumer protections included a multilingual ACP Support Center, FCC rules to protect consumers participating in the ACP, and a dedicated FCC process for ACP complaints should consumers run into issues with the program.
To learn more about the impact of the FCC’s Affordable Connectivity Program, please visit the program’s data dashboard. Additionally, for those interested in sharing information about the ACP with their community, you can find consumer outreach materials available at fcc.gov/acp-consumer-outreach-toolkit or affordableconnectivity.gov/community-resources, including Spanish and ASL informational videos about the program. For a full list of eligibility requirements and more information about the ACP, visit GetInternet.gov.
News source: fcc.gov/document/20-million-households-enroll-acp