(BPT) - In the past few years, the United States has made significant progress in expanding access to high-speed internet. During the COVID-19 crisis, emergency relief rolled out for Americans who needed to stay connected from home. In the last two years, through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) and the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), the federal government has invested an unprecedented amount of money towards connectivity, including the launch of the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), which provides a $30 monthly subsidy for home internet to qualifying households.
And while the resources are there, getting families online remains part of the challenge - millions of Americans still remain unconnected at home, according to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
'As a society, it is imperative that we work together to help people connect to the transformative power of the internet at home,' says Broderick Johnson, executive vice president of public policy and digital equity for Comcast Corporation.
'The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for millions of Americans to get online for little to no cost, but connectivity is just the beginning. It's critical for service providers like Comcast to continue to partner with nonprofit organizations across the country to deliver digital literacy skills training so more people can learn how to take full advantage of everything the internet has to offer.'
What is the ACP?
The ACP is a benefit program that helps ensure every household can afford broadband connection. For eligible households, the program provides a credit of $30 per month toward internet service, or $75 per month for those on Tribal lands.
Who qualifies for the ACP?
You are eligible to use ACP benefits if your income is 200 percent or less than the Federal Poverty Guidelines. When you apply, you may have to show proof of income. You are also eligible if you or someone in your household participates in any of these programs:
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
- Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA)
- Veterans Pension and Survivors Benefit
- Free and Reduced-Price School Lunch Program or School Breakfast Program, including at U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Community Eligibility Provision schools
- Received a Federal Pell Grant in the current award year
You can learn more about the qualifications at AffordableConnectivity.gov.
Two easy ways to use your benefits
Internet service providers like Comcast make it easy to use your ACP credit and can essentially make high-speed internet free for qualified households. Here are two smart ways to use your $30 benefit through Comcast's Xfinity services:
High-speed internet: At a cost of $29.95 a month - which is completely covered by ACP - the Internet Essentials Plus package offers fast speeds to support the performance of video and music streaming, video calls and gaming, and comes with a free cable modem and WiFi router.
Internet plus one line of unlimited mobile: Qualified individuals can also stretch their credit to cover the cost of high-speed internet ($9.95) plus one line of unlimited data on Xfinity Mobile ($45) for less than $25 per month. This ensures you'll stay connected at home and everywhere you go.
Comcast also allows customers to choose any tier of internet service, so if you are already a customer, then you can enroll in the program and start getting the $30 off your bill soon after.
'Connection to high-speed Internet is no longer a luxury,' says Johnson. 'It is a daily necessity, and we are doing our part to make it accessible to everyone across the country.'
To learn more about the ACP and find out if you are eligible, visit Xfinity.com/ACP.