News flash: A reliable internet connectionis essential for working from home, staying on top of schoolwork andkeeping us entertained. But home internet service isn't cheap. It can cost so much that some people struggle to connect at all.
In 2021, a temporary subsidy program called the Emergency Broadband Benefitwas established to help low-income families and those who'd lost income in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. By 2022, the government had shuttered the EBB and replaced it with the Affordable Connectivity Program-- one of several broadband-focused initiatives in the$1.2 trillion infrastructure bill signed by President Joe Biden in November 2021.
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Like the EBB, the ACP aims to help households afford the internet connections they need to keep pace with our rapidly changing world. Those who qualify will get $30 per month off their internet bill. That amount goes up to $75 a month for households on Tribal lands. As of the end of January, nearly 16 million households in the US have signed up.
Scores of internet service providers are committed to being involved with the ACP. For example, the White House announced 20 providers across the US that pledged to offer plans with a minimum of 100 megabits-per-second download speeds for $30 or less. In total, over 1,600 ISPs are participating in the ACP. You can check the Federal Communications Commission's state-by-state list to determine which ISPs are available in your area. There's also a government website, whitehouse.gov/getinternet, to help you navigate the ins and outs of this benefit. Let's walk through what else you need to know to take advantage of the ACP.
8 Ways to Save on Your Monthly Internet Bill
1. Do you qualify for the ACP?
Not everyone is eligible for the Affordable Connectivity Program. It's intended to help low-income households afford broadband connections for school, work, health care, utilities and other services. Thus, at least one home member must meet the criteria for the household to participate.
First, if you or anyone in the household participates in the federal Lifeline program, you'll also be eligible to participate in the ACP. Through the Lifeline program, you can receive a discount of just over $9 a month on your internet service (and just over $34 per month for those on Tribal lands). Any funds from the ACP will be an additional discount to what you receive via Lifeline. It also helps you skip a step, which I'll describe shortly.
If you're not taking advantage of Lifeline, other programs can qualify you for the ACP. If you or anyone in your household currently participates in particular government assistance plans -- including Federal Public Housing Assistance, Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Supplemental Security Income and Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children special supplemental nutrition program -- you will also be eligible to opt into the ACP.
You can also qualify for the ACP based on your income. Regardless of participation in any of the above programs, your household will be eligible if your income is less than or equal to 200% of the federal poverty guidelines. Here's how that breaks down:
ACP qualification: Total income
|Number of people in the household||200% of the poverty guideline|
After eight, you can add $10,280 to the final amount listed for each additional person. Also, it should be noted that the numbers are slightly higher for Alaska and Hawaii. You can find those specific US Department of Health and Human Services numbers on the charts on its site. Be aware that you'll need to take the numbers in the charts on that page and multiply them by two to get the needed "200% of the federal poverty guidelines."
Finally, other things that would make you eligible include:
Participation in specific Tribal programs, including Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance, Tribal TANF and Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations.
Received a federal Pell Grant during the current award year.(Video) 5 Ways to Save On Your Energy Bill Every Month
Approval for free or reduced-price school lunch programs or school breakfast programs.
Meeting the eligibility requirements of a participating ISP's existing low-income program.
If any of the above is met, you may also be eligible for a one-time discount of up to $100 for a desktop computer, tablet or laptop.
2. Can you can 'skip the line?'
Remember how I talked about skipping a step when I mentioned the Lifeline program? If you're already a part of Lifeline, you can contact your ISP directly to enroll in the ACP. You're not required to use the Apply Now button on the ACP site.
Similarly, if you are currently enrolled in your ISP's low-income program but are not participating in Lifeline, you may also be able to avoid using the ACP site. You will need to follow up with your ISP and ensure that the FCC approves it for this step.
3. Have you collected your paperwork?
If you can't skip that step, prepare to pull together several documents. (Note: If you plan to mail the application, do not send your original documents, only copies.) Among the paperwork you'll need is proof of income, including either a tax return, pay stub or Social Security statement of benefits, or proof of program participation, including approval letters, benefit verification letters or statement of benefits.
You can refer to the ACP site's Show You Qualify pagefor a full list of acceptable documents.
4. Now it's time to apply for the ACP
You have three different ways to apply for the Affordable Connectivity Program. The first is to apply online. You can log in and create a new account at the ACP's online application portal.
Your second option is to apply by mail. You will need to print out an application, complete it and send your copies of the required documents to ACP Support Center, PO Box 7081, London, KY 40742.
Finally, your other option is to contact your ISP directly and ask if it participates in the ACP. If it does, it should be able to assist you and walk you through whatever steps are needed to complete the process.
If you choose to apply online, you may receive immediate approval. If that's not the case, there may be a request for additional documentation before you can move forward with the ACP discount. But once you're approved, you can move on to the final step.
5. Check in with your provider
The ACP is not a check you receive, but a discount applied to your internet bill. As such, you'll need to notify your ISP of your ACP participation so it will apply the discount to your monthly charge. This is also an opportunity to see if you can upgrade your internet plan tier and get more speed for less money.
Some ISPs that are participating in the ACP
AT&T: The ACP benefit can be used toward any AT&T internet plan. Access from AT&T is the company's low-cost program for limited-income households. It features download speeds up to 100Mbps for $30 a month, which will be free for customers when combined with the ACP.
Cox: Cox has two different discount programs. Connect2Compete is aimed at low- or fixed-income families. ConnectAssist is geared toward low-income households without children. Qualifying customers can receive a 100Mbps plan (including a free modem, access to Wi-Fi hotspots nationwide and 1.25TB of data) for $30 a month, which can be covered completely by the ACP benefit.
Mediacom: All customers eligible to participate in the ACP and serviceable for Mediacom can use the benefit for a discount on Xtream Internet service. Mediacom also features a Connect-2-Compete program for low-income households with at least one student in K-12 and at least one child in the National School Lunch Program. It features up to 25Mbps download speeds for $10 monthly or 100Mbps for $30 per month. Both plans would be free when combined with the ACP benefit.
Optimum: The Optimum Advantage Internet program includes eligibility for seniors or households with anyone participating in NSLP. The no-contract internet plan, which includes a router, modem, free installation and unlimited data, features up to 50Mbps download speeds for $15 a month. When combined with the ACP benefit, participants can receive free internet service.
Spectrum: Charter's cable internet service is participating in the ACP, and eligible customers can use the discount on all Spectrum internet plans. Also of note, Spectrum offers ACP customers a 100Mbps plan that includes Wi-Fi, modem and self-installation for $30 a month. That means eligible ACP customers could get their broadband service for free.
Starry Internet: The ACP benefit can be applied to any Starry Internet service plan, but the company's affordable internet program, Starry Connect, features 30Mbps download and upload speeds and can be completely covered by the ACP discount. The same is true of its Starry Select plan, which features download speeds of 100Mbps and 50Mbps upload.
Verizon: Verizon customers, including Verizon 5G Home Internet and Verizon Wireless, are eligible to use ACP benefits if they qualify for the program. Some Verizon customers, through the company's Fios Forward and Verizon Forward programs, may be able to receive free internet service by using the ACP benefit. Customers of Verizon Fios' 500Mbps or Gigabit plans can also utilize the ACP for discounted service.
Xfinity: Comcast has long offered an affordable plan called Internet Essentials, aimed at low-income households. It offers download speeds up to 50Mbps, no contracts and free equipment for $10 a month. Now, ACP participants can also use Internet Essentials Plus, which doubles the download speed to 100Mbps and includes the same terms (no credit check, no contracts and free equipment) for $30 a month, or free for ACP customers.
Please note this is not an exhaustive list. To find out if an ISP in your area is participating in the ACP, you can refer to the FCC's state-by-state ACP participants list.
6. Additional details to keep in mind
Your household cannot get the ACP discount from more than one ISP, nor can you get multiple discounts within the same home. Doing so would disqualify you from receiving further assistance or benefits through the ACP.
Also, you must notify your ISP or the ACP if you no longer qualify for the benefit. So, if you're no longer participating in a qualifying assistance program or your income exceeds the poverty threshold, you need to take action within 30 days of the change.
If you have any additional questions about the Affordable Connectivity Program, call the ACP Support Center at 877-384-2575.
Affordable Connectivity Program FAQs
Is the Affordable Connectivity Program the same as the Emergency Broadband Benefit?
It is similar, but they are two different programs. The EBB was a temporary benefit created to help those in need during the COVID-19 pandemic. It ended on December 31, 2021. The ACP is a long-term program aimed at helping low-income households stay connected for work, school, health care and more.
The EBB provided $75 a month for qualifying families on Tribal lands. That does not change with the ACP. However, for all others, the EBB provided $50 a month as a maximum monthly benefit, whereas the top monthly amount for the ACP is $30 per month.
How long will the Affordable Connectivity Program last?
The ACP is a long-term program. The government has committed $14 billion to this endeavor, and there is currently no end date.
Will the Affordable Connectivity Program send funds to help me pay for my broadband costs?
No, you will not get a check in the mail. The ACP is essentially a discount on your home internet service. Your service provider will receive the funds from the government, and you will, in turn, see a reduced price on your bill.
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Will the government pay for my internet? ›
Most eligible families can receive a benefit of up to $30 per month applied to the cost of their internet service. ACP-eligible households who live on Tribal lands are eligible for a benefit of up to $75 per month.How can I make my internet cheaper? ›
- Cut the Cord & Unbundle. There is plenty of free entertainment on the internet. ...
- Threaten to Cancel. ...
- Bundle Your Services. ...
- Reduce Your Speed. ...
- Buy Your Own Equipment. ...
- Switch to a Mobile Hotspot. ...
- Low-Income Subsidies. ...
- Start Cutting Costs Now.
Dial-up internet connection is the cheapest method to connect to the internet. The connection is slow compared to other connections. The internet speed in the dial-up connection ranges from 2400 bps to 56 kbps.Does Social Security income count as income for Affordable Connectivity Program? ›
Income includes salary, public assistance benefits, social security payments, pensions, unemployment compensation, veteran's benefits, inheritances, alimony, child support payments, worker's compensation benefits, gifts, and lottery winnings.Which state is giving free internet to the poor? ›
Along with this, the Chief Minister of Kerala, Pinarayi Vijayan, declared the internet as one of the basic rights of the people of the state.How can I get free WiFi at home without internet? ›
Head over to a neighbor's house and ask them if you can use their WiFi. They might not agree, but if they do, you can use their password to connect to their network. If any of the WiFi networks nearby your home are unlocked (meaning they don't have a password), click on them and try to connect.
Comparison between WiFi and Internet
WiFi is a wireless network to connect nearby devices with each other and share the Internet via hotspots. Internet is a global network of networks where computers communicate with each other via Internet Protocol. WiFi uses radio frequency waves to transmit data.
|Cox Internet Essential 100||$49.99/mo.*||100 Mbps|
|Xfinity Connect More||$40.00/mo.†||200 Mbps|
|Astound Broadband 600 Mbps Internet||$24.99–$39.99/mo.**||600 Mbps|
|Frontier Fiber Internet 500||$49.99/mo. w/Auto Pay & Paperless Bill††||500 Mbps|
- FreedomPop. If you haven't heard of FreedomPop before, you are definitely missing out! ...
- NetZero. ...
- WifiMap. ...
- Wifi Free Spot. ...
- InstaBridge. ...
- Use Wifi at Coffee Shops. ...
- Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) ...
- Ask Your Neighbours.
The best alternatives to cable internet are fiber and 5G. Fiber has faster download speeds than cable and much faster upload speeds. 5G is on par with cable speeds and might soon overtake them. It also has the advantage of being wireless.
How much is internet per month? ›
|Average Monthly Internet Cost|
Do I Need a Modem and a Router? If you wish to use WiFi or connect numerous devices, you'll need both a modem and a router. You can only connect one computer at a time because most modems only have one LAN Ethernet connector, but a modem won't provide the same level of protection as a router.What income is not counted by Social Security? ›
Pension payments, annuities, and the interest or dividends from your savings and investments are not earnings for Social Security purposes. You may need to pay income tax, but you do not pay Social Security taxes.What type of income reduces Social Security benefits? ›
If you are younger than full retirement age and earn more than the yearly earnings limit, we may reduce your benefit amount. If you are under full retirement age for the entire year, we deduct $1 from your benefit payments for every $2 you earn above the annual limit. For 2023, that limit is $21,240.What income is excluded from Social Security? ›
Any public agency's refund of taxes on real property or food; Assistance based on need and funded wholly by a State or one of its political subdivisions (including Indian tribes). It does not matter whether these payments are made directly to an individual or are paid to someone else on his or her behalf.Where in the US has no internet? ›
Green Bank is in an area called the National Radio Quiet Zone. The Federal Communications Commission created the zone in 1958. It extends to other parts of West Virginia, Virginia and Maryland. Some people call the Green Bank Telescope “the GBT.” That is short for “Great Big Thing.”What country gets free internet? ›
|Slowest states||Average download speed|
You Can Be Connected To WiFi, But Not The Internet
The radio tower that is broadcasting its network throughout your home will not stop broadcasting its signal if the internet is no longer being fed to it.
Ethernet gives you better speed, lower latency, and a more reliable connection. Wi-Fi is more convenient for mobile devices, but is prone to interference. Deciding which one is better depends on what you want to do; so let's help you decide with some key comparisons.
Can I access the Internet without Wi-Fi? ›
The internet itself is the worldwide network of servers, emails, websites, apps, social media, streaming services, video chat platforms, and other software tools people use to communicate with each other. So while you can use WiFi to connect to the internet, you don't have to.Is A modem the same as a router? ›
While some will use the two words interchangeably, they are not the same thing. A modem brings internet service into the home, and the router delivers the internet to the devices in your home via WiFi or an Ethernet cable.What is the difference between a modem and a router? ›
Have you ever asked, "do I need a modem and router?" To put it simply, the modem connects your home to the Internet, while a router creates the network inside your house.What is the slowest internet plan? ›
Dial-up is by far the slowest of all Internet connections available. Use of dial-up requires a separate phone line, since users must connect via the telephone to their Internet service provider.Which provider is best for internet? ›
- 10 Best Internet Providers of 2023.
- AT&T Internet.
- T-Mobile Home Internet.
- Cox Communications.
- Comcast Xfinity.
- Verizon Fios.
- Google Fiber.
Now, it's possible in many places to get a high-speed internet connection without a landline or cable television service. Depending on where you live, the best options for how to get Wi-Fi without cable or a phone line include satellite internet, fiber internet, 4G or 5G internet, fixed wireless or a mobile hotspot.Do you need internet to use a Firestick? ›
Yes, your Fire Stick needs internet.
All of the Fire Stick's apps function with the internet, so it's integral you establish a stable network connection. Without an internet connection, you will be unable to play content from video streaming platforms, download new apps, or play online games.
If you're feeling the need for one-gig speed, the average bill for gigabit internet is $73.39 a month. That's about the same average monthly price as it was in December 2020.How much is good internet? ›
A good download speed is at least 100 Mbps, and a good upload speed is at least 10 Mbps.How much does a single person spend on WIFI per month? ›
How much does internet cost per month? The median price for internet access is about $75 per month. That's according to a November 2022 analysis from Consumer Reports, which found that about half of US households pay between $60 and $90 per month for internet service.
Can I just buy a router and have WIFI? ›
Most Internet providers allow you to purchase your own modem and router separately, or a device that contains both—it's up to you. Both options connect you to the Internet.Do I need a better modem or router? ›
If you have a high-speed fiber-optic connection, you may need a newer modem-router combo that can handle that type of connection. On the other hand, if you only have a slow DSL connection, and you don't need to connect wirelessly, a standalone modem may be all you need.Can you use a router without Internet provider? ›
You may be amused to know that a wireless router allows you to use it without the Internet. Whether it is wired or wireless, you can go for it.How often does Social Security check your bank account? ›
That being said, how frequently does the Social Security Administration check your bank account? While the number of times SSI checks your bank account is not standardized, it may be anywhere from a single year to six years. The SSI can also check when you go through life-altering experiences.Does money in the bank affect Social Security retirement? ›
Social Security does not count pension payments, annuities, or the interest or dividends from your savings and investments as earnings. They do not lower your Social Security retirement benefits.At what age is Social Security not affected by income? ›
You can earn any amount and not be affected by the Social Security earnings test once you reach full retirement age, or FRA. That's 66 and 4 months if you were born in 1956, 66 and 6 months for people born in 1957, and gradually increasing to 67 for people born in 1960 and later.How much money can you have in the bank on Social Security? ›
Money In The Bank And SSDI
The monthly limit is $1,350 in 2022 for non-blind individuals and $2,260 for individuals qualifying for benefits as statutorily blind, so it is a good idea to keep records of the source of deposits that you make into your bank account.
For every year that you delay claiming past full retirement age, your monthly benefits will get an 8% “bonus.” That amounts to a whopping 24% if you wait to file until age 70.What is the maximum Social Security benefit for 2023? ›
The maximum benefit depends on the age you retire. For example, if you retire at full retirement age in 2023, your maximum benefit would be $3,627. However, if you retire at age 62 in 2023, your maximum benefit would be $2,572. If you retire at age 70 in 2023, your maximum benefit would be $4,555.How much will SSI checks be in 2022? ›
SSI benefits increased in 2022 because there was an increase in the Consumer Price Index from the third quarter of 2020 to the third quarter of 2021. Effective January 1, 2022 the Federal benefit rate is $841 for an individual and $1,261 for a couple.
Can a person on SSI inherit money? ›
Because an inheritance is considered a change in resources , it's required that people receiving SSI benefits have to report inheritance to the Social Security Administration (SSA)—and they must do so no later than the first 10 days of the month that follows the month that they received the inheritance.What disqualifies you from Social Security? ›
If you have not reported income and evaded taxes for a lifetime, then you have no right to Social Security benefits.Who qualifies for Biden's free internet? ›
Eligibility is income-based, and the White House lays out two ways to qualify: Belong to a household whose income is no more than double the federal poverty level; that means a cap of $27,180 for one person, $36,620 for two, $46,060 for three, and $55,500 for four.How long will internet stimulus last? ›
The bipartisan infrastructure bill has renamed the Affordable Connectivity Program and will allow the program to continue indefinitely.How does the $100 device benefit work? ›
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 they contribute more than $10 and less than $50 toward the purchase price.Is the stimulus internet credit over? ›
The Affordable Connectivity Program replaced the Emergency Broadband Benefit on December 31, 2021.How to apply for the Biden program? ›
You can visit the Federal Student Aid website to apply for up to $20,000 of student debt relief. Individuals who earned under $125,000, or households that made under $250,000, in 2021 or 2020 qualify for up $10,000 in forgiveness.How many times can you use ACP? ›
An ACP consumer can only use their one-time device benefit on a device offered by the same provider through which that consumer receives ACP-discounted internet service.Do I qualify for the latest stimulus payment? ›
Single people making less than $75,000, heads of household making less than $112,500, and married couples filing jointly making less than $150,000 qualify for stimulus checks. People making up to $80,000 will receive partial payments.What will the last stimulus check be? ›
COVID-19 Stimulus Checks for Individuals
The IRS issued three Economic Impact Payments during the coronavirus pandemic for people who were eligible: $1,200 in April 2020. $600 in December 2020/January 2021. $1,400 in March 2021.
What year does the stimulus check go off of? ›
Your eligibility will be based on information from your most recent tax filings (2018 or 2019).How do I get a laptop with ACP? ›
Ask your internet company if they participate in the ACP. Participating companies can help you apply through their company's application process. Visit the link to apply online or to download an application form. Call the ACP Support Center if you have questions about your eligibility or the status of an application.What is the government stimulus program for spectrum? ›
The Affordable Connectivity Program will provide eligible households with a credit toward broadband service of up to $30 per month, or $75 per month for households on Tribal lands. The Affordable Connectivity Program is limited to one monthly service credit per household.How do I get temporary internet? ›
- Use someone else's. The most obvious solution to not having WiFi is to use someone else's. ...
- WiFi dongle. ...
- Mobile phone tethering. ...
- Mobile broadband device. ...
- Line of sight internet.
Yes. Spectrum offers the two Internet assistance programs for families with low income. For more information about how to apply for low-income Internet, click the links below.Is the new stimulus direct deposit? ›
California stimulus payments have been paid via direct deposit or debit card. If you filed your 2020 California tax return electronically, and received a California tax refund by direct deposit, then you generally also should have received your stimulus payment by direct deposit.How can I lower my spectrum bill? ›
- Call and negotiate a Lower Rate.
- Remove unnecessary services.
- Reduce equipment Fees.
- Qualify as a new customer.
- Switch to a different internet provider.
- Send your bill to a negotiation service.
- Qualify for a low-income subsidy.