More and more mobile carriers are building out their 5G networks, but for those that don’t have access to a mobile or wired broadband connection, the future of 5G is still a dream.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) plans to change this with its new Affordable Connectivity Program. This program will deploy fixed wireless broadband to 25 million homes and small businesses.
These ACP programs aim to bring internet connectivity to those who don’t currently have internet access, providing them with a way out of poverty.
What Does the Affordable Connectivity Program Entail?
The ACP programs will be part of the FCC’s Lifeline program, which provides discounted phone service to those that have applied for public assistance.
This new broadband initiative will include additional support from the Universal Service Fund (USF). The USF is a government-created fund that helps bring high-quality telecommunications services to schools, libraries, and rural healthcare facilities.
Under this program, eligible households will receive discounts up to $30 every month for broadband service. Those living in tribal bands get up to $75 per month.
A home is eligible if an individual or family receives public assistance from Medicaid, SNAP, and Federal Public Housing Assistance.
Per household, you may receive one monthly service discount and one device discount through the Affordable Connectivity Program.
Who Can Be Eligible for the Program?
The FCC has a list of programs that qualify you for this new program. For example, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is one program on this list. Each state will determine eligibility by establishing its eligibility criteria and certification systems.
Every US resident is eligible as long as they meet the requirements of one or more of the following programs.
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
- Income-Based Housing Assistance.
- Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).
- Temporary Assistance to Needy Families with an income no greater than 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI) with a pay no greater than 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.
- Veterans Pension and Survivor’s Benefit.
The following individuals are eligible regardless of whether or not they meet one or more requirements above.
- Individuals Permanently Residing on Tribal Lands.
- Individuals Receiving Federal Public Housing Assistance.
- Native Americans, Alaska Native citizens, and Freely Associated States’ Citizens Living on Tribal Land.
What Devices Can You Use?
To apply for the program, eligible recipients must have one of the following devices.
- Laptops and Notebooks.
- Desktop Computers.
- USB Modem or AirCard.
These devices must provide access to Internet connectivity.
Which Service Types are Eligible?
The following service types are eligible for this program.
Fixed Wireless Broadband (FBB): It’s important to note that the FCC has not yet decided which wireless frequencies are suitable for this program.
Mobile Wireless Broadband (MFB): The FCC has not yet decided which wireless frequencies are suitable for this program, but the initial plan is to use existing mobile broadband networks.
What Might This Mean For You?
If you live in a place without high-speed internet access, you might soon have a cheaper option for bringing that access into your home or small business.
If you are willing to switch providers, now might be the time to do so.
With this new FCC program, there’s a high chance that an ISP will offer much lower prices to win over customers who currently have little or no internet access.
How to Sign up for This Program?
If you are eligible, your provider should automatically enroll you. Just make sure to ask them before you buy any service.
If your provider does not automatically enroll you, then you should contact the customer care representative of that company and ask them if they offer this program.
This step is an excellent way for low-income families to access high-speed internet at an affordable price. It’s also a perfect way to get internet access in areas without it.
Rules Applying to Affordable Connectivity Program Participants
The following restrictions apply to all participants in this program.
You must maintain your eligibility for the program. If you are no longer eligible, you lose the discount.
You may not resell or transfer any discounted services received through the program. Your provider may require you to return their equipment if you cancel service. Any customers found abusing this program will have their discounts removed.
Individuals must abide by all terms and conditions of any subsidized wireless service plan used in conjunction with this program, including any data usage limits placed on the plan.
You may not change carriers or cancel your subscription without incurring charges. If you switch carriers, you should also contact the new provider to transfer the discount if you want to keep it.
This program is a way for low-income families to access high-speed internet at an affordable price. Since its implementation, many have expressed their pleasure in affording internet service that otherwise was not financially possible.