Affordable Connectivity Program

UPDATE: The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) is winding down. 

Without additional funding from Congress, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) anticipates that the current ACP funding is projected to run out in April 2024. This date is an estimate and may change. As a result, the FCC has begun taking steps to wind down the ACP, which means:

  • No new ACP enrollments will be accepted after Feb. 7, 2024, at 11:59 p.m.
  • Households that enrolled with an ACP internet company before Feb. 7, 2024, at 11:59 p.m. will continue to receive their ACP benefit until ACP funds run out as long as the household remains enrolled and eligible for the benefit.
  • When ACP funds run out, households participating in the ACP will no longer receive the ACP discounts.

What should ACP households expect during the wind-down?
All households enrolled in the ACP will continue to receive the benefit on their internet service until ACP funding, which is currently projected through April 2024, runs out. During the ACP wind-down period, ACP households will receive notices from their internet company about the impact of the end of the benefit on the household’s bill and service. The notices will include:

  • That the ACP is ending
  • The impact on their bill
  • The date of the last bill they will receive that includes the ACP benefit
  • That they may change their service or opt-out of continuing service after the end of the ACP
  • That they may switch their internet plans without penalty

ACP households will also receive notices from the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC), the administrator of the ACP.  Download the FCC's Wind-Down Fact Sheet.

The Affordable Connectivity Program provides:

  • A $30 per month benefit to help households afford access to high-speed internet service.
  • Up to a $75 per month discount if the household is on qualifying tribal lands.
  • A one-time discount of up to $100 for a laptop, tablet, or desktop computer (with a co-payment of more than $10 but less than $50).

Some people who may get the discount:

  • Have income at or below 200% of federal poverty guidelines
  • Participate in certain assistance programs like SNAP, Medicaid, Federal Public Housing Assistance, SSI, WIC, or Lifeline
  • Are approved to receive benefits under the free and reduced-price school lunch program or the school breakfast program

How to Participate in ACP

Check your eligibility and enroll in the ACP at http://getinternet.gov before Feb. 7, 2024, at 11:59 p.m. There is no fee to apply.

New: $30 Internet Plans

The federal government has secured 20 leading internet providers to offer ACP-eligible households a high-speed internet plan for no more than $30 per month. Eligible families who pair their ACP benefit with one of these plans can receive high-speed internet at no cost. Visit http://getinternet.gov for more details. 

Help Spread the Word

Community groups can use these outreach materials to help spread the word about the benefit. The following frequently asked questions offer helpful information on outreach, participation and providers.

Outreach

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Consumer groups, community anchor institutions, faith-based organizations and local nonprofits can reach out to inform their communities about the Affordable Connectivity Program.

Find outreach materials for the Affordable Connectivity Program.

Local leaders are encouraged to print, publish, use, and distribute the materials to their communities through their online and offline channels. By spreading the word, your organization can help empower your neighbors who do not have access to high-speed broadband.

The Division of Broadband and Digital Equity has developed outreach materials that can be downloaded, posted and printed for use. They are available in English and Spanish and are specific to tribal areas.

Find outreach materials for the Affordable Connectivity Program.

Do you need other materials? Send a message to broadband@nc.gov to discuss your needs and how we might be able to help. 

Social media or other internet channels are great tools for communications and outreach but should not be used exclusively because they miss key groups who need the information the most.

Find outreach materials for the Affordable Connectivity Program.

Outreach materials can be inserted in community mailings, such as utility bills, school board notifications, library notices and church bulletins. They can be posted in community hubs, such as libraries, coffee shops, schools and places of worship.

The National Digital Inclusion Alliance shared the following outreach tips: 

  • Research shows that for digital adoption, the most effective marketing and information-based outreach, includes partnerships with public agencies, community-based organizations, 211 and 311 helplines and local media.

  • Customize outreach materials with local information and translate them as needed.

  • Work with organizations serving populations less likely to have home broadband service.

  • Maintain a list of local internet providers participating in the Affordable Connectivity Program.

  • Request local internet providers' reports on marketing, outreach, application support progress and enrollment numbers.

  • Check and share when the USAC ends the program. Help participants choose a different plan or pay the full cost.

Consumers

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The FCC has set criteria for who may receive internet service discounts from the Affordable Connectivity Program. At least one member of a household must meet one of these conditions: 

  • Has an income that is at or below 200% of the federal poverty guidelines;
  • Participates in certain assistance programs, such as
    • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
    • Medicaid
    • Federal Public Housing Assistance
    • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
    • WIC
    • 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 USDA Community Eligibility Provision;
  • Received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year; or
  • Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating provider's existing low-income program.

Enrollment in the Affordable Connectivity Program began Dec. 31, 2021. The FCC provides more information about the Affordable Connectivity Program, and you can also find information at http://getinternet.gov.

Households may apply for the Affordable Connectivity Program either through their participating broadband provider or directly with the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC). Applications opened Dec. 31, 2021. There is no fee to apply to the program.

The FCC provides more information about how to apply, and you can also find information and a link to register at http://getinternet.gov.

Providers

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The FCC provides extensive guidance for broadband providers wishing to participate in the Affordable Connectivity Program. Eligible providers may include cable providers, wireless Internet service providers and non-traditional broadband providers, such as community-owned networks, electric cooperatives and municipal governments. 

Information and details about the approval process can be found here and here on the FCC's website.