(BPT) - How are your savings goals for 2022 coming along? While lingering uncertainty and changes caused by the pandemic may have brought new challenges to our finances, there are many opportunities to make a positive impact on your personal money matters, especially for things you need most, such as internet and phone service.
One way is through the federal Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) recently created by Congress to replace the temporary Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) program. Having access to reliable broadband internet through the ACP benefit helps ensure families across the country can stay connected to conduct important daily activities including work, school, health care and more.
Administered by the Federal Communications Commission, the ACP provides eligible households a benefit of up to $30 a month and up to $75 a month on qualifying Tribal lands on wireless broadband and internet service. If you're interested in the program, there are important steps you must take.
1. Determine if you qualify
Visit ACPbenefit.org or call the ACP Support Center at 833-511-0311 to see if your household is eligible. You may qualify if your household income is at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. Visit acpbenefit.org/do-i-qualify to see if your household qualifies through income or participation in certain government assistance programs or Lifeline.
2. Apply and find an Internet or wireless provider
Once you've determined that you qualify, you can then complete enrollment through a participating wireless provider like Cricket Wireless. Contact the company and complete the ACP enrollment form to apply your benefit to your service.
Once enrollment is complete, Cricket will automatically apply your monthly benefit of up to $30 on non-Tribal lands beginning on your next month's service. For example, customers on the $30 monthly plan who receive the benefit could see their monthly payment eliminated, with access to the 5G network on a compatible phone and 5 gigabytes of high-speed data.1
Options for those who don't qualify
Budgeting is important for everyone. Even if you don't qualify for the ACP, you can still explore easy ways to save on your wireless internet costs. Verify you have the correct monthly data for your household's use, so you aren't paying for more than you need. Seek prepaid wireless plans for flexible and affordable access to stay connected. Inquire about product promos and sales. Ask about discounts for account holders, such as for those who enroll in autopay or refer a friend.
Saving money always matters, especially as people continue to navigate the pandemic the best they can. The ACP program and these additional tips will help keep you connected while supporting your budget.
1 Cricket 5G is not available everywhere. See cricketwireless.com/map for coverage. Activation & add'l fees may apply. Usage, terms and restrictions apply. See cricketwireless.com/acp for more information.