The Affordable Connectivity Program Gives Free Internet to Troops
The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) is replacing the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program to provide free or discounted Internet access to active service members, Veterans, and their survivors.
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Affordable Connectivity Program Eligibility
Many different Americans are eligible for the ACP, including service members who are currently receiving benefits from the Federal Government. The expansion comes after the Emergency Broadband Benefit ended on March 1, 2022. The benefit was created as a response to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
If you receive one of the following benefits, you’re eligible to enjoy either free or discounted Internet services from the Affordable Connectivity Program:
- Free or discounted school lunch or breakfast.
- Pell grants.
- SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program)/food stamps.
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI) via Social Security.
- VA Survivors Pension (aka Death Pension).
- VA Veterans Pension.
- WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) assistance.
Certain income requirements also apply, and they can vary from state to state, depending on your status and household income. For more information, be sure to check out the official Affordable Connectivity Program website to see if you qualify.
In addition to qualifying for free or reduced Internet from the government, users may be able to receive benefits from their Internet service provider (ISP). Even if you don’t qualify, be sure to contact your ISP and inquire about your options. Here are some of the ISPs participating in the ACP:
- Allo Communications.
- Cox Communications.
- Hawaiian Telecom.
- Jackson Energy Authority.
- Verizon (Fios only).
- Vermont Telephone Company.
- Vexus Fiber.
How the Affordable Connectivity Program Connects Troops
The purpose of the ACP is to provide more Americans with affordable access to the Internet. It does this by paying as much as $30 per month to those receiving the benefit’s ISP. For residents on tribal lands, this is increased to $75 per month. The ACP will also pay up to $100 for a one-time discount fee towards the device that will connect to the Internet.
Plans that begin with a minimum of 100 Mbps download speeds are eligible. Users are responsible for paying for a portion of the device costs, which must be a laptop, desktop, or tablet computer not exceeding $150. Smartphones and phablets (phone-tablets) are not eligible for the Affordable Connectivity Program.
While millions of Americans stayed home during the pandemic, the lack of access to online services was made abundantly clear. These days, we rely on the Internet for everything from our entertainment to critical educational and financial services. The Internet plays a role in our healthcare, our access to general information, and much more.
This is why the ACP is continuing the job of making sure that military families have viable access to the Internet. Homes that do not may struggle with basic responsibilities, access to education, and healthcare. So far, over 12 million households have signed up for the program.
How Long Will Affordable Connectivity Program Last?
It’s hard to say exactly how long the ACP will go on; however, the government has committed to the program for the long haul. There’s at least $14 billion being invested in connecting Americans, and military members who qualify can take advantage of the program with confidence that they will be connected for the foreseeable future.
This $14.2 billion successor program to the Emergency Broadband Benefit provides qualified low-income households with a discount of up to $30 per month toward internet service & up to $75 per month for eligible households on Tribal lands: https://t.co/O34YHTEJQl. #BroadbandForAll
— The FCC (@FCC) February 15, 2022
Applying for the Affordable Connectivity Program
If you’re looking to apply or want to know if you’re already registered in the system, before you contact the Affordable Connectivity Program customer service department, save some time and check out how to apply on their website. The Affordable Connectivity Program login can also help you check the status of your account.
The Internet is an ever-growing, important utility. Everything we continue to enjoy or participate in is either already connected or becoming connected to the Internet. A reliable, affordable broadband connection is more of a necessity now than ever before, and the Affordable Connectivity Program ensures that more Americans can receive such services.
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