The White House announced the Affordable Connectivity Program today, which provides low-cost Internet and, for some, even free Internet for low income families and individuals who meet the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) criteria (explained below). That criteria is to either be participating in one of a number of assistance programs (listed below), or to be earning no more than double the Federal poverty limit (we also explain below what is the Federal poverty limit for 2022). And not to put too fine a point on it, but we think that the fact that the White House estimates that as many as 40% of people or households meet the criteria of having either so little income, or needing an assistance program to, you know, live, is really burying the lead, and is a scathing indictment of the state of our society; but we digress. You want to know how to get free or low cost Internet, not read our thoughts on just why 40% of all Americans are living at poverty or subsistence levels. Read on.
The bottom line is that through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the Affordable Connectivity program reduces your Internet bill by up to $30 a month if you meet the criteria (see the criteria below). It does this through a partnership with Internet providers who have committed to participate in the ACP by deeply discounting Internet services (some to no more than $30 a month, making your Internet free after applying the ACP discount) – or upping the speed of existing Internet services at no additional charge – for their customers who meet the criteria. Here are those providers.
Primary List of Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) Providers
The following providers have committed to offering Internet services for low income individuals and families at no more than $30 per month, meaning that after applying the ACP discount, it will be free.
AltaFiber (and Hawaiian Telecom)
Altice USA (Optimum and Suddenlink)
Jackson Energy Authority
Spectrum (Charter Communications
Verizon (Fios only)
Vermont Telephone Company
Wow! Internet, Cable, and TV
In addition, at least 1,300 other Internet providers have agreed to honor the ACP discount, although the initial service may cost more than $30 a month so that while the Internet through these providers will be low-cost, it may not be free. You can search for your Internet provider here.
How to Get Free Internet for Low Income Families
As we mentioned, the above Internet providers are offering a way to get free Internet for low income families. For example, as we have written about in the past,in our article about Internet Providers Waiving Data Caps as During the Pandemic, Comcast, who, let’s face it, is much maligned for lots of things, really stepped up and are the good guys, offering their Internet Essentials program, through which low income families can get Comcast Internet for just $9.95 a month.
Well, Comcast has done the good guy thing again, as of today their Internet Essentials website announces “Sign up for Internet Essentials for only $9.95/month + tax with no contract and free equipment – then enroll in the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) to get your service for FREE” In other words, Comcast is making it as easy as possible for people who qualify to get free Internet through them. We have to say it: bravo, Comcast! You can sign up for Comcast Internet Essentials here.
How to Qualify for the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP)
Earn No More Than Twice the Federal Poverty Level
For 2022, the Federal poverty level is considered to be:
For individuals: $13,590
For a family of 2: $18,310
For a family of 3: $23,030
For a family of 4: $27,750
So that means that you qualify for the ACP if you earn no more than:
For individuals: $27,180
For a family of 2: $36,620
For a family of 3: $46,060
For a family of 4: $55,500
Participate in One of the Following Programs
You can also qualify for the ACP if someone in your household participates in one of the following programs:
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) (formerly known as Food Stamps)
Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA)
Free and Reduced-Price School Lunch Program or School Breakfast Program
Federal Pell Grant received in the current award year
Certain Tribal assistance programs
Veterans Pension and Survivors Benefit
Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)
Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
Alternatively, you can also simply take advantage of the program if you meet an Internet provider’s own criteria for an “Internet for low income households” program (such as the one offered by Comcast, above).
As we said at the top, we think the fact that 40% of all U.S households are eligible to participate in the Affordable Connectivity Program is horrifying, but that’s another article, for another day, on another website.