ACP

As the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) gets set to end next month, at least three internet providers touted alternative low-cost offerings this week, including some available only to low-income households. The ACP program paid up to $30 a month toward the cost of broadband service for qualifying households but is set to run out of funding next month unless Congress takes action to re-fund it.

During the ACP’s 29-month existence, numerous providers have offered a $30 service for low-income customers so that service is essentially free when the ACP discount is applied, and some of the providers plan to continue to offer the $30 services. With a few exceptions, however, service will no longer be free. But customers may have the option of getting a partial discount through the Lifeline program, a separate low-income program that is funded through the Universal Service Fund program.

TDS Connect

TDS said it will continue its low-cost TDS Connect service, which offers up to 200 Mbps symmetrically where available. The service is priced at $30 a month, including Wi-Fi.

The company joins AT&T and Comcast in continuing existing low-cost or low-income offerings.

Verizon Offerings

Verizon plans to offer its low-cost Verizon Forward service plans for as little as $20 a month for new and existing customers. The plans are underpinned by Verizon’s fixed wireless offerings, dubbed 5G Home and LTE Home, or by Fios fiber broadband, depending on geographic availability. Customers get speeds up to 300 Mbps symmetrically where Fios is available.

Additionally, new Verizon Forward customers can get an additional discount that brings the cost of service to zero for the first six months.

Another Verizon offering that will essentially have zero cost to qualified customers is Safelink. That service will be free for those enrolled in the FCC low-income Lifeline program after the Lifeline discount is applied.

Finally, although the ACP benefit for May is expected to be only $14, Verizon said that ACP customers on Verizon Value prepaid mobile plans will still get a $30 discount for that month. Those plans include Straight Talk, Tracfone, Total by Verizon, Simple Mobile, SafeLink, Walmart Family Mobile, Net10, GoSmart and Page Plus.

 T-Mobile

T-Mobile said existing customers that use their ACP benefit with Assurance Wireless will keep their service through August 2024 “without any changes to their price or plan.”

The company also said it will cover the ACP discount for customers on Metro by T-Mobile through June, after which those customers will get a monthly discount of $15 through August.

In addition, T-Mobile highlighted some of its low-cost prepaid plans, including T-Mobile prepaid data plans that start at $10 a month for 2GB of data, and Connect by T-Mobile, which offers unlimited talk and texts, along with 5GB of 5G data for $15 a month.

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One thought on “As ACP Reality Sets in, Providers Tout Low-Cost Alternatives

  1. I read a lot of complaints about T-Mobil from people being overcharged and problems related to customer service. Verizon told me that Spectrum has a monopoly over my area so I can’t get Verizon internet where I live. I thought monopolies are supposed to be illegal.

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