How low-income Americans can request high-speed internet

The Affordable Connectivity Program provides discounted Internet services to low-income Americans. Find out who is eligible and how to apply here.

Twenty Internet companies have agreed to offer faster Internet services at a discount to tens of millions of low-income Americans. President Joe Biden made the announcement on Monday, May 9.

The Affordable Connectivity Programfunded by $14.2 billion included in the $1 Trillion Infrastructure Package that Congress passed in 2021 provides monthly Internet subsidies of $30 and monthly subsidies of $75 in tribal areas for lower-income households.

VERIFY viewer Deborah texted the team asking how they could sign up for the discounted Internet service.

THE QUESTION

Do eligible Americans need to apply for the Affordable Connectivity Program to get a discounted Internet service?

THE SOURCES

THE ANSWER

This is true.

Yes, eligible Americans must apply for the Affordable Connectivity Program to get a discounted Internet service.

WHAT WE FOUND

Households are eligible for the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) based on their income or by participating in some federal programs such as Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC ), among others.

The agencies that administer these federal programs will contact ACS-eligible households, according to the White House. For example, SSI recipients who have a “My Social Security” account will receive eligibility emails. Some US cities and states also send text messages to millions of eligible Americans.

People are eligible for the program if their income is 200% or less than the federal poverty guidelines. That’s $27,180 for a one-person household in 48 US states and Washington, DC (excluding Alaska and Hawaii), and $55,500 for a four-person household. You can find out more about income limits based on household size on the website of the program

According to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the government agency that oversees the program, there are two steps for those wishing to enroll in the program.

First, apply online or visit the ACS website to print a mail-in application. Second, once your application is approved, contact a participating ISP to select a plan and have the discount applied to your bill.

Some people may receive immediate approval, while others may need to submit additional documentation for review. The FCC says some ISPs may also have an alternate application that must be completed.

Major ISPs, including CenturyLink, AT&T, Verizon, Xfinity, and Spectrum, also have online instructions on how to apply for the ACP.

All five providers say customers must first qualify for the program by signing up on the ACP website. You can then either fill out an online form (for CenturyLink) or call (for Verizon and Spectrum) to participate in the program. AT&T and Xfinity also have more information about options to enroll in the program on their websites.

An online resource can help those who qualify to find Internet companies that participate in the ACS. The FCC also has a list of participating providers on its website

What if you are already subscribed to another low-income internet program?

Those who are already subscribed to lifeline, a federal program that reduces the cost of telephone or Internet services, does not have to reapply for the ACP, according to the program’s website. Instead, they can contact their internet company directly to sign up.

Lifeline subscribers can also talk to their provider about the services they may offer as part of the ACP, including the ability to apply discounts to their existing service.

People who already participate in another low-income program with their ISP probably won’t need to reapply to get the ACP discount. They should contact their internet company directly to see if they can enroll in the program.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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