Low-income households can receive a $30 discount on their internet service starting Friday.
The Federal Communications Commission implemented the Affordable Connectivity Program that could help alleviate the high-speed access problem that has been exacerbated by the pandemic forcing millions of adults to work from home or children to attend class remotely.
"The cost of broadband is out of reach for far too many people in this country," said FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel in a YouTube clip. "And not having an internet connection limits opportunities for work, education, healthcare, and so much more."
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The Affordable Connectivity Program is an extension of the Emergency Broadband Benefit, a program the FCC enacted in May 2021 that offered a $50 monthly subsidy to eligible households. The ASP, worth $14.2 billion, was signed into law on Nov. 15 by President Joe Biden as part of the bipartisan infrastructure bill to make broadband more accessible nationwide.
During the coronavirus pandemic, households without broadband were limited in their ability to quarantine, often having to turn to other sources for the internet. Only 57% of households making $30,000 or less had home broadband in June 2021, according to the Pew Research Center, compared to 93% of households earning $100,000 or more.
Households can apply to take up to $30 a month off their internet service bill. Homes located on qualifying tribal lands may be eligible for discounts up to $75 a month. Others may be eligible for a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop, or tablet from participating providers.
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Households may be eligible for the ACP discount if they have an income at or below 200% of federal poverty guidelines, participated in assistance programs such as SNAP or Medicaid, received a Federal Pell Grant or other criteria listed on the FCC website. Households can register for the discount at ACPBenefit.org to apply online or print out a mail-in application before approaching their participating provider to select a plan and have the discount applied.