New subsidy can help qualified households get discounted or free internet services. It's essential for back to school needs.
Help is here now for thousands of Austin households who need a home internet connection but can’t afford it. Whether it’s for the school children’s homework, finding and applying for jobs online, working from home, completing medical forms, printing documents or other projects, there’s a new government program designed to help those in need. The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) run by the Federal Communications Commission is for qualifying households* and provides:
- A $30 per month discount toward broadband services; many Austin-area internet service providers have a $30 a month ACP plan so new customers don’t pay anything a month;
- A one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from a participating provider as long as the buyer contributes more than $10 and less than $50 toward the purchase price.
“Austin’s vision is for every resident to be fully engaged in the digital society and to have access to digital and communications technology,” said Rondella Hawkins, The City of Austin’s Telecommunications and Regulatory Affairs Officer. “The FCC’s new Affordable Connectivity Program with its discounts for internet access and a device goes a long way to help those most vulnerable who are now unserved or underserved online.”
A household is eligible for the ACP if the household income is at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines --based on the number of people in the household but starts with a household of one person with an annual income of $27,180 -- or if a household member meets at least one of the criteria below:
- Received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year;
- Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating provider's existing low-income internet program;
- Participates in one of these assistance programs:
- National School Lunch Program or the School Breakfast Program, including through the USDA Community Eligibility Provision
- Federal Public Housing Assistance
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Veterans pension or Survivor Benefits
- or Lifeline.
There’s more ACP information and who can qualify at /AffordableInternet or by calling the ACP Support Center at 877-384-2575.