The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has launched the Affordable Connectivity Program, which is the successor to the agency’s Emergency Broadband Benefit program.
The new $14.2 billion Affordable Connectivity Program will build on the Emergency Broadband Benefit program’s efforts, which helped almost nine million people to afford internet access during the COVID-19 pandemic. The transition to the new program is in accordance with congressional directives in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
In a press release, the FCC said eligible households are encouraged to apply to receive up to $30 per month discount toward internet service, and up to $75 per month for households on qualifying Tribal lands. Additionally, eligible households can 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.
“The response to the Emergency Broadband Benefit proved what many knew to be true: the cost of high-speed internet is out of reach for too many of us,” said FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel. “Now with the long-term Affordable Connectivity Program, we have the opportunity to enroll even more households and help ensure they can afford the internet connections they need for work, school, health care and more for years.”
A household is eligible for the Affordable Connectivity Program if a member of the household meets at least one of the criteria below:
- Has an income that is at or below 200 percent of the Federal poverty guidelines;
- Participates in certain assistance programs, such as SNAP, Medicaid, Federal Public Housing Assistance, SSI, WIC, or Lifeline;
- Participates in Tribal specific programs, such as Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance, Tribal TANF, or Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations;
- Is approved to receive benefits under the free and reduced-price school lunch program or the school breakfast program, including through the Department of Agriculture Community Eligibility Provision in the 2019-2020, 2020-2021, or 2021-2022 school year;
- Received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year; or
- Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating provider’s existing low-income program.