Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP): Meaning, Purpose, Eligibility, Application Process

The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) is a government benefit program that provides eligible low-income households with discounts on internet service and connected devices. The purpose of the ACP is to help ensure that all Americans have access to affordable, high-speed internet.

The ACP was launched in 2022 as a long-term replacement for the Emergency Broadband Benefit program, which was a temporary program created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The ACP is administered by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and is part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law passed in 2021.

The goal of the ACP is to close the digital divide by making broadband internet more affordable for lower-income families. Having internet access at home is essential for work, school, healthcare and more. But for many families struggling with the costs, home internet has been out of reach.

ACP Eligibility

To qualify for the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), your household income must be at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines, or you must participate in certain assistance programs. The ACP income thresholds are based on your household size.

For example, if your household has 3 people, your annual income must be at or below $43,920 to qualify. See the full income eligibility chart on the ACP website:

You can also qualify for ACP if you or someone in your household participates in certain government assistance programs like Medicaid, SNAP, SSI, WIC, or Lifeline. Check the full list of qualifying programs on the FCC’s website:

Additionally, those living on qualifying Tribal lands are eligible for ACP. This includes any federally recognized Indian tribe’s reservation, pueblo, or colony. There are no income requirements for qualifying Tribal lands.

ACP Benefits

The Affordable Connectivity Program provides several key benefits to eligible households including:

  • Discount on internet service – Households can receive a discount of up to $30/month on internet service from participating providers. This brings internet service costs down to affordable levels for low-income families.
  • Discount on devices – A one-time discount of up to $100 for a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet is available for eligible households. This makes internet-enabled devices more accessible.
  • No tax – The ACP discounts do not count as income, so participants do not have to pay tax on the ACP benefits they receive.

These benefits help ensure all Americans have the ability to afford essential internet access. With the ACP discounts, participants can stay connected for work, school, healthcare and more.

How to Apply

There are three main ways to apply for the Affordable Connectivity Program:

  1. Apply online at This is the quickest way to apply and find out if you qualify. You’ll need to provide some personal information to verify your identity.
  2. Download a mail-in application from and submit it along with copies of your identification documents.
  3. Contact your preferred participating broadband provider to learn about their application process and any assistance they can offer.

The required documents needed for the application are:

  • A government photo ID document like a driver’s license or passport
  • Proof of income documentation if qualifying based on low income
  • Proof of participation in qualifying government assistance programs if applying that way

Those who need application assistance can contact the ACP Support Center or find local community support resources on the ACP website. Application materials are available in multiple languages as well.

After Enrollment

Once enrolled in the ACP, consumers can immediately start using the benefit to get discounted internet service from participating providers. The ACP benefit will be applied as a discount on your monthly bill, so you’ll see the lower rate on your next billing cycle.

If you wish to change plans or providers, you can do so at any time while enrolled in the ACP. Your benefit will transfer to the new participating provider. Make sure to coordinate the change with your current and new provider to ensure no lapse in discounted service.

ACP enrollees must re-enroll in the program every 12 months. Prior to expiration, enrollees will receive a notice to re-certify their eligibility. It is important to complete re-enrollment on time or you may lose your ACP benefit.

To re-enroll, you can visit or contact your provider. You will need to again verify that you still qualify based on the ACP eligibility criteria. As long as you still meet the requirements, re-enrollment is typically quick and straightforward.

ACP Providers

The Affordable Connectivity Program is available through participating internet service providers across the country. Major providers like AT&T, Comcast Xfinity, Charter Spectrum, Cox, Optimum, Verizon Fios, T-Mobile, and many more allow ACP-eligible households to receive the monthly discount (according to FCC).

To find ACP providers in your area, you can use the FCC’s Companies Near Me tool. Simply enter your zip code and select Internet Service Providers from the Company Type dropdown menu. You’ll then see a list of participating providers that offer ACP plans in your locality. The tool also provides additional details like max speeds, starting prices, and telephone contacts for each company.

It’s recommended to contact your current internet provider first to ask if they participate in the ACP. If not, use the Companies Near Me tool to explore other eligible providers in your vicinity. Once you’ve identified a suitable ACP provider, you can apply for the program through them.

For Service Providers

Internet service providers can participate in the Affordable Connectivity Program to offer discounted broadband service to eligible households. To participate, providers must:

  • Get approved by the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) to participate in the ACP.
  • Offer broadband internet access service with speeds of at least 25/3 Mbps.
  • Make eligible services available to all qualifying households within service areas.
  • Have an in-home broadband offering that meets ACP requirements.

Once approved, providers can get reimbursed up to $30/month (or up to $75/month on Tribal lands) for each eligible household they serve. Reimbursements will be paid directly to the provider by the USAC after customer eligibility is confirmed.

Providers must submit reimbursement requests to the USAC on a monthly or quarterly basis. Reimbursement claims can be submitted through the USAC online portal or via an API. Required information includes subscriber IDs, service dates, and reimbursement amounts.

For full details on provider requirements and the reimbursement process, refer to the FCC’s Affordable Connectivity Program site.

ACP vs. Lifeline

The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) and Lifeline are two federal programs that help lower the cost of internet and phone services for eligible households. While the programs have some similarities, there are key differences between ACP and Lifeline:

Lifeline is an older program that was created in 1985 to help low-income consumers pay for landline phone service. It has since been expanded to also cover broadband internet and mobile phone services. Lifeline provides a monthly discount of up to $9.25 on service. Lifeline and the Affordable Connectivity Program

The ACP was created more recently in 2021 as part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. It provides a monthly discount of up to $30 per month for internet service and up to $75 per month on qualifying tribal lands. The ACP also provides a one-time discount of up to $100 for a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet for eligible households. How is Lifeline different from the ACP?

While Lifeline is an ongoing program, the ACP is currently funded through 2022 with the potential for extension. The ACP also has more extensive eligibility requirements than Lifeline. However, households that qualify for Lifeline are automatically eligible for the ACP as well. Many providers allow customers to apply the discounts from both programs.

ACP Funding

The Affordable Connectivity Program is funded through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act signed into law in November 2021. The ACP is part of a $65 billion investment to expand broadband access and affordability. Of that, $14.2 billion is allocated specifically for the ACP (source:

This funding is available to eligible households until exhausted or six months after the Health and Human Services Secretary declares an end to the COVID-19 health emergency. After the emergency period ends, any unused ACP funds will be returned to the US Treasury (source:

Some critics argue the long-term outlook for ACP is unclear once emergency funds are depleted. However, the Infrastructure Act does appropriate $2.75 billion annually after the emergency period for the permanent FCC Affordability Connectivity Benefit. This could potentially fund a scaled-back version of the current ACP (source:

ACP Criticisms

The Affordable Connectivity Program has received criticism for some of the program restrictions and perceived flaws. Some argue that the ACP should cover more than just internet service, and extend to help pay for devices, digital literacy training, and other tools needed to get online (Source). There are also concerns about the cumbersome application process, which relies on self-attestation and may deter eligible households from enrolling (Source).

Another common criticism is that the temporary nature of the program, which relies on funding from the bipartisan infrastructure bill, means benefits could abruptly end for millions of families if additional funding is not secured. Some argue this temporary aid is not a long-term solution for closing the digital divide (Source). There are also concerns about a lack of data to prove the ACP is meaningfully increasing adoption rates despite high enrollment numbers (Source).

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