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What is the Affordable Connectivity Program?

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You might have already heard about the Affordable Connectivity Program or ACP or EBB, at least once at some point in time. For those of you who do not know, ACP is a Federal government assistance program that helps low-income families get access to digital resources such as free government smartphones, tablets, laptops, etc., and even free or discount at telecommunication service plans.

If you are someone willing to get a free government smartphone or Tablet and get huge discounts on cell phone service plans that include free unlimited data, unlimited talk time and text messages, etc., then you might want to know more about the affordable connectivity program. 

After receiving multiple queries on how to apply for the Affordable Connectivity Program, here is a detailed article on what an affordable connectivity program is, how to apply for ACP and get a free government phone, what are the benefits of the affordable connectivity program, eligibility for ACP, and much more. 

Keep reading the article further to get all the required information about ACP!

What is the Affordable Connectivity Program?

 

The affordable connectivity program is a popular government assistance program run by the FCC to help low-income families and needy people get access to telecommunication services such as the internet, monthly cell phone service plans that include text and talk time, affordable smartphones, laptops, tablets, computers, etc. 

This program was typically designed to help less privileged families so that they do not face the digital divide. The government in collaboration with Various network service providers, offers free government smartphones, tablets, laptops, computers, etc. to low-income needy families. They also offer other services such as free or discounted monthly cell phone service plans at much cheaper prices. 

This program was earlier known as the name – Emergency Broadband Benefits program and was introduced during the Covid-19 Pandemic to help people stay connected with their families and close ones without worrying about the bills. 

Through the new government internet program – the Affordable Connectivity Program, low-income eligible households can get reduced or free internet services from the government. You can save as much as $30.00 to $75.00 per month on your monthly internet bills through ACP and around $9.25 to $29.25 monthly through ACP program.

Through ACP, You can get huge discounts on high-speed internet connectivity. Furthermore, you can also get free internet access along with cable, satellite internet connections, wireless, and so on. 

This program of you up to a $30 discount on internet and monthly cell phone service plans, whereas this amount is $70 for qualifying tribal lands. Apart from this, you can get up to a $100 discount on tablets, smartphones, laptops, computer desktops, etc. You can apply for this program through the link mentioned below.

How to Apply for Affordable Connectivity Program?

How to Apply for Affordable Connectivity Program?

If you are looking forward to applying for the affordable connectivity program, then there are multiple ways using which you can apply for this program according to your convenience. There are basically 3 ways to apply for ACP.

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The easiest in our opinion is to apply online via their official website, you can also apply via mail or directly contact your internet/network service provider. 

To help you out in this process, given below is a detailed step-by-step method on how to apply for ACP to get free smartphone and cell phone plans.

Method 1: Apply Online via the Website

  1. Go to the official website of ACP.
  2. Create a new account if you haven’t already or Login to your account.
  3. This National Verifier will use the information entered by you to check whether or not you are eligible for the ACP program.
  4. Simply enter all the details required, this is the fastest way to apply for ACP.
  5. Then simply click on next and hit the enroll option.
  6. You will soon get notified on if you are eligible for ACP.

Method 2: Apply through Mail 

  • Go to the official website of ACP to print out the application form given to apply via mail.
  • After taking a print of the form, fill free ACP Tablet application form.
  • Then send the application along with the photocopies of the required documents to the address – ACP Support Center, P.O. Box 7081, London, KY 40742.
  • Note that you must not send your original documents via mail or you may not get them back.
  • You will soon hear from the authorities about the next step in getting free ACP benefits.

Method 3: Contact your internet provider directly

Lastly, yet another easy way to apply for ACP is by contacting your network service provider directly.

You can simply ask your current network service provider if they participate in the ACP program. If they do, you can easily skip the application process since your provider will do all the needful things on your behalf.

You can use the USAC’s ACP Provider Locator Online Tool to find the nearby Network service provider that participates in ACP.

Eligibility for Affordable Connectivity Program

Similar to most other government assistance programs, the Affordable Connectivity Program to has certain criteria for eligibility. Since the number of resources available with the government is quite limited and to use these resources in an efficient manner. 

By having strict eligibility criteria, only those in genuine need of a free smartphone and telecommunication services will get the required assistance.

So, in order to be eligible for the ACP program, there are two ways using which you can be eligible for the program. You can either be eligible through income or by being a participant in any of the government assistance programs.

  • Income-Based Eligibility

Household income must be at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines for ACP

  • Participation-Based Eligibility

The applicant must be a participant in any of these programs – Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Medicaid, Federal Public Housing Assistance PHA, Supplemental Security Income SSI, the Veterans and Survivors Pension Benefit, or certain Tribal Programs. You can also be a recipient of the Federal Pell Grant during the current award year.

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You can also be eligible for the ACP program if you are a participant in the Lifeline Program. 

What are the documents required to apply for ACP?

In order to be eligible for a free government smartphone with ACP, you will have to submit certain documents to prove your eligibility for the program. All the information entered by you in the application form for ACP will be verified by cross-checking the documents submitted by you.

Given below is a comprehensive list of documents that may be required to apply for a free ACP smartphone or tablet. Proof of identification and address is mandatory in all cases whereas if you are eligible through income, you can provide only those relevant documents. 

Proof of IdentificationProof of AddressProof of Government Benefit ParticipationProof of Income
Driver’s License, Government, State, or Tribal Issued IDDriver’s License, Government, State, or Tribal Issued IDNotice letter of participation in a qualifying state, federal or Tribal ProgramPrior year’s state, federal or Tribal tax return
Passport/Birth CertificateCurrent Income Statement, Paycheck Stub, or W2Program participation documentsVeterans Administration statement of benefits
Certificate of Naturalization or of U.S. CitizenshipCurrent Mortgage or Lease StatementCurrent or prior year’s statement of benefits from a qualifying state, federal or Tribal programCurrent income statement from your employer or a paycheck stub
Permanent Resident or Resident Alien Card Utility BillAnother official document evidencing the consumer's participation in a qualifying state, federal or Tribal ProgramUnemployment or Workers’ Compensation statement of benefits
Foreign PassportStatement of Benefits from a Qualifying Program Which Contains Name And Address

What are the maximum benefits I can receive with ACP?

What are the maximum benefits I can receive with ACP

With the affordable connectivity program,  eligible households can get huge discounts and services for free that may include the following perks:

  • One can get it discount of up to $100 on the purchase of a smartphone, laptop, computer, or tablet by co-paying just $10.01.
  • Eligible people can get up to a $30 per month discount for broadband service plans, which can further go up to a $75 per month discount for telecommunication service on qualifying Tribal lands. 
  • Apart from this, one can also enroll for cell phone plans exceeding the mentioned amounts and pay the remaining cost by themselves.
  • Note that the mentioned ACP benefits are per household and not per person! 

Frequently Asked Questions

Given below are some of the most commonly asked questions about the Affordable Connectivity program. If you are looking for ways to get a free government smartphone, you might come across various questions. So here we have answered a few of them for you.

For how long will I receive the ACP benefit for?

There is no time limit on how How long you will receive the affordable connectivity program benefits as long as you are eligible for the program. As long as you meet the eligibility criteria for ACP, you can enjoy the benefits of this program without any hindrance.

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On a broader level, the ACP program will last for as long as the Federal government is providing the required funds for it, which would be at least for a few years now.

Is ACP and EBB the same program?

Yes, ACP and EBB are the same programs. the affordable connectivity program was earlier known by the name of the Emergency Broadband Benefits program. ACP is the continuing program of EBB and both of these programs serve the same purpose of helping low-income families and needy people in getting access to free or low-cost telecommunication services and Smartphones, laptops, tablets, etc. 

What internet service providers participate in the ACP?

A lot of Telecommunication services and network service providers participate in the Affordable Connectivity Program to help low-income families get access to digital resources such as cell phone plans and smart devices.

Some of the most well-known network service providers such as Assurance wireless, Safetynet wireless, Safelink wireless, Truconnect wireless, AirTalk Wireless, and so on. You can approach almost any network service provider to apply for and get the benefits of the affordable connectivity program. 

What Broadband Programs Are Less Than $50 per Month?

As mentioned earlier, not everyone would be eligible for the affordable connectivity program considering the strict criteria to apply for it. However, you can still get cheaper Broadband plans that can cost you less than $50 per month. 

For instance, you can get up to 200 MBPS of the internet from Verizon Fios for just $54.99 per month. If you order their services online, you can get a waiver on $99 setup fees. You can also opt for the RCN plans that give you 300 Mbps for $42.00 per month. Even Comcast Xfinity offers 100 MBPS internet for $44.94 for one year.

Concluding Words

That was all about what is Affordable Connectivity Program and how to apply for ACP benefits. Many people come to us with this query, and to finally answer all your related questions on how to Apply for ACP, here we have tried to give as many details as we could.

The internet and telecommunication services have become essential necessities of human lives. It does act like a doorway to a plethora of opportunities, including but not limited to education, employment, healthcare, and so on.

The government realizing the significance of internet services and bridging the digital divide between those who can and those who cannot access internet services, has introduced federal assistance programs like the Affordable Connectivity Program and the Lifeline Assistance Program. 

Many Internet Service Providers, like Assurance Wireless, Xfinity, Safelink Wireless, TruConnect Wireless, etc., participate in the ACP program to provide low-cost internet and devices for low-income people. 

In case you have any doubts, feel free to ask us in the comments below. We will be back to you as soon as possible.