The FCC says that more than 20 million households have enrolled in the agency’s low-income broadband program, known as the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP).
The ACP provides stipends of as much as $30 per month toward Internet service. The amount is $75 on Tribal lands. Households also can receive a one-time discount of as much as $100 for a device if the end user contributes between $10 and $50 to the purchase.
Participation in the program is a requirement for broadband providers that receive funding through certain government broadband funding programs, including the upcoming $42.5 billion Broadband Equity Access and Deployment (BEAD) program.
“For a long time, closing the digital divide focused on one part of the equation—the lack of physical infrastructure to get online,” FCC chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said in a press release about the low-income broadband milestone. “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.”
The press release reiterated the eligibility rules for participation in the program. Household income must be at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. Eligible households include those in which:
- Any household member, including children or dependents, participates in certain government assistance programs such as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Medicaid, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) and Federal Housing Assistance;
- Any household member participates in the National School Lunch Program or the School Breakfast Program;
- Any household member received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year;
- Any household member already receives a Lifeline benefit
There have been numerous ACP-related announcements since the low-income broadband program’s inception.