These are some commonly asked questions about the Affordable Connectivity Program for community organizations and trusted institutions working to help households navigate the Affordable Connectivity Program.
The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) helps families connect to the Internet from home by providing a monthly benefit to help pay for an internet service plan. The ACP is a long-term $14.2 billion program of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), funded by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The ACP began December 31, 2021, replacing the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) (a temporary program tied to the pandemic).
A discount of up to $30 a month for broadband service ($75 for households on qualifying Tribal lands), as well as a one-time discount of $100, with a co-payment of more than $10 but less than $50, toward the purchase of a connected device (laptop, desktop or tablet) through a participating provider.
Can a household receive more than one discount? The Affordable Connectivity Program is limited to one monthly service discount and a one-time connected device discount per eligible household.
USAC defines a household as a group of people, even if they are not related, who live together and share money (income and expenses). If the individuals live together but do not share money, they are considered as more than one household.
There are three options to enroll:
1. Online at GetInternet.gov (National Verifier) or accedeainternet.gov for Spanish.
2. Mail in an application (English or Spanish) and return it along with proof of eligibility to: USAC, ACP Support Center, P.O. Box 9100, Wilkes-Barre PA 18773
3. Contact a participating broadband provider directly to learn about their application process. For a full list of participating providers see: acpbenefit.org/companies-near-me/.
(Note only certain providers have been approved by the FCC to use an alternate application process and to enroll households directly, so most will need to apply via the National Verifier).
Visit EducationSuperHighway’s interactive ACP certification course, LearnACP, an online, self-paced ACP training course that provides:
The participant receives an ACP specialist certification when they complete the course.
A member of a household only has to meet one of the criteria, such as income at 200% or less of the federal poverty level, or at least one member of the household participates in a government assistance program, such as Medicaid or SNAP, or through a dependent who is on free and reduced lunch or who attends a school that participates in the Community Eligibility Provision. For more information and a full list, see ACP Eligibility Qualifications and visit GetACP.org to learn how you qualify and what documents you need to apply.
Participation in Lifeline
Participation in one of the following government assistance programs:
Participation in Free and Reduced Price School Meal program, including through the USDA Community Eligibility Provision (CEP)
Received a Federal Pell Grant during the current academic year
Tribal specific programs:
The household may have to provide documentation to demonstrate eligibility depending on the criterion they choose during the application process. If the applicant has to provide documentation, regardless of the eligibility criterion they selected, they will first be prompted to upload income documentation. The applicant will be asked to verify if they meet this eligibility criterion and if they have proper documentation.
Examples of acceptable documents include:
Acceptable documents to show participation in a qualifying government program include:
Visit GetACP.org to learn how you qualify and what documents you need to apply.
If the household is qualifying through a child or dependent, for example – if the student participates in the free or reduced lunch or breakfast program, or if their school participates in the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP), the family will need to provide documentation showing the student’s enrollment in the qualifying year.
The official school document will need to include the student’s full name, student’s date of birth, school name, school address, school contact information (email and/or telephone), and current school year. Districts may want to prepare a letter for families confirming their student’s enrollment or participation in a qualifying program. Note that if using a report card it must have all of the above information, as well.
For more information on these requirements, as well as other best practices for K-12 school districts supporting ACP enrollment, see EducationSuperHighway’s ACP Adoption Toolkit for Schools
It depends. If an applicant is paid in cash but has an ITIN, they can use that to verify their identity. Otherwise, the best route to take would be to qualify under one of the other criteria. For instance, if the participant is enrolled in one of the federal programs (i.e. SNAP or Medicaid), we recommend the applicant qualify using that. Another option would be to apply through someone else in the household who qualifies, such as a student who attends a CEP school.
Generally, undocumented individuals (including DACA holders), are not eligible to receive federal public benefits. However, ACP does not take into account one’s immigration status, meaning undocumented individuals can receive this benefit.
Undocumented individuals may be eligible for a handful of benefits that are deemed necessary to protect life or guarantee safety in dire situations, such as healthcare and nutrition programs under the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). If an undocumented individual receives WIC, for example, they can use that as proof of eligibility.
Only individuals with lawful permanent resident (LPR) status may apply for federal benefit programs, but not until they have resided as a legal resident for five years, also known as the “five-year bar”. Certain categories of immigrants- specifically Cuban/Haitian/and certain Amerasian immigrants, refugees, people granted asylum or withholding of deportation/removal, and victims of human trafficking or domestic violence- are exempt from the five-year bar and have the same eligibility requirements for federal benefits as LPRs. Individuals on non-immigrant and temporary visa holders are ineligible for benefits. However, ACP does not abide by the five-year bar; if you qualify, you may apply. (source 1, source 2)
All American citizen children, regardless of their parents’ citizenship status, can receive federal benefits if they meet eligibility requirements without penalty. However, the child’s eligibility does not change their parents’ or any other family members’ (in)eligibility for that benefit. If a mixed-status family only has underage children, the application will still have to be completed by the parent. (source)
If the applicant has an underage child, regardless of immigration status of that child, enrolled in Free or Reduced Lunch or attends a CEP (Community Eligibility Provision) school, the household may qualify through that child.
If the applicant has an adult dependent who is a U.S. citizen, the dependent must qualify through the same eligibility requirements of ACP. Remind applicants that, if the dependent receives a Federal Pell Grant, this would qualify their dependent for the ACP. Unfortunately, undocumented dependents above the age of 18 face the same barriers as the original applicant.
Yes, as long is it includes the following information:
A photo of the student is not required on the ID, and while a unique student identification number is also not required, it is a best practice to include one to demonstrate authenticity.
The household will need to reapply if the way they were eligible was through a child or dependent. If the child or dependent is still attending a CEP school or is eligible for the free and reduced-price meal program at another school, then they will need to reapply and show their child or dependent is receiving that benefit at the new school.
The household will need to reapply if the way they were eligible was through a child or dependent. If they have another child or dependent who attends a CEP school or participates in the free and reduced meal program, the household can apply with this child or dependent’s information.
If the child or dependent is attending a post-secondary school (college or university) and receives a Pell Grant, then they may use their award letter to continue to receive the benefit.
The household should apply using the information of their youngest school-aged child / dependent as this will ensure they are eligible through the free and reduced meal program or the CEP for the longest period of time.
Households need to provide documentation to confirm their identity – the last four digits of a Social Security number is generally easiest and fastest but other forms of identity such as a driver’s license are acceptable.
If they decide to qualify through their student or dependent, the applicant will also need to provide identification for their student/dependent, such as the last four digits of the student’s Social Security number. Examples of documents are below. For more information, see here.
Households can visit GetACP.org to learn how they qualify and what documents they will need to apply.
The USAC website does not specify that the identification documents must be from the US. Through EducationSuperHighway’s enrollment support, we have seen that foreign passports and IDs are acceptable, but they must be current and up-to-date. Specifically, applicants may use their consular ID or foreign passport number in the application. (source)
The various documents that can fulfill the ACP’s identity verification requirement for applicants who are undocumented are: Driver’s License, Passport, Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN), Visa, Consular ID, or other Government ID.
Other U.S. Government ID: For applicants who cannot drive, they may have a state or municipal ID if offered in their area.
To qualify through an underage (below 18) dependent:
To qualify through an adult (18 and above) dependent:
To qualify through an underage (below 18) dependent:
An adult will still need to complete the application. If the adult successfully verifies their identity, they will then need to verify the identity of the dependent. As the dependent does not have a SSN, we have found that the applicant may use a school ID to verify their dependent’s identity. The school ID must include:
Undocumented dependents above the age of 18 face the same barriers as the applicant and may use the other troubleshooting steps if they wish to apply.
Accents, cedillas, or other diacritics should not be included when applying to the ACP. This can create an error message in the system.
If an applicant’s name on their application does not match the name on their form of identification (such as only listing one last name, using a nickname, or not including your middle name or second last name), they may continue to be rejected by the FCC. We recommend that the applicant use a different email address and redo their application with their full name.
The date of birth entry is a dropdown field. The applicant should select the appropriate day, month, and year for their birth date.
Eligible households are able to sign up for any internet service plan provided by a participating Internet service provider, including those that they may already be participating in. Households can search for participating providers using the FCC search tool.
To find providers and plans that serve the household’s address, they can visit GetACP.org.
Credit checks are prohibited as a condition of household participation in a service plan. Service providers are also prohibited from up or down-selling customers on any plans. They also cannot conduct a credit check or make consumers sign a contract. (source)
It’s important to note that the provider cannot de-enroll a household from their internet plan for debts unassociated with their internet service plan (for instance, phone or cable).
If de-enrollment occurs due to non-payment of the household’s internet bills (for 90 days or more), the provider cannot prevent a household from re-enrolling in their services; however, it is up to the provider to determine how they will manage the household’s debt – possibly through a payment plan. The provider can also downgrade the household to a free-with-ACP or a lower-cost plan with the household’s consent.
The individual is also able to re-enroll in a grandfathered or legacy plan that is no longer offered if it meets the fully subsidized criterion: “allowing providers to limit service offerings available to any household upon re-enrollment after termination for non-payment to plans that would be fully subsidized by the affordable connectivity benefit and any other applicable benefit, such as Lifeline, will protect individuals and providers by limiting the accrual of any additional ACP-related debt. To preserve consumer choice and to allow households to return to their preferred plan, we further find that households that are downgraded from their current grandfathered or legacy plan must be permitted to return to that grandfathered or legacy plan at a later time.” See paragraph 143 of the FCC Rules for more information.
No. It cannot be applied to cable, data overage charges, or other non-Internet products or equipment. However, the ACP can be applied to a bundled plan that includes for example, cable and phone. In this situation the ACP benefit would be applied to the internet portion of the plan.
Yes, a household can change service providers (see section(s) (h)(1) and (h)(2): Restrictions on switching providers, § 54.1810 Consumer protection requirements, FCC ACP program rules) up to once a month (see section (b)(1)(ii)(D): Transfers in the Affordable Connectivity Program, § 54.1810 Consumer protection requirements, FCC ACP program rules). However, the provider must be a participating ACP provider, and the device discount can only be used once per household.
Furthermore, the provider cannot promote practices that may cause the household to believe they are unable to or restricted from switching providers or place any burden on the household if they wish to change providers, such as charging a fee (such as an early termination fee) to the household for switching providers. The consumer may be required to return any customer premises equipment (such as a modem), however.
Yes! As the ACP can be applied to any plan, the consumer can choose whichever plan they wish to apply the benefit.
In many instances the ACP benefit will be applied to the household’s first or next bill, especially if they connect with the ISP before the 15th of the month. However, it’s important to note that it can take as long as 90 days for the benefit to be reflected on the bill and every internet provider is different. It is recommended that during the initial conversation with the internet provider, the applicant clarifies when they will see the benefit applied.
The name of the person receiving the ACP benefit must be listed on the internet service account in order to take advantage of the benefit.
If the applicant would like to apply their benefit to an existing service and they are not currently listed on the internet account, determine whether the account holder could instead apply for the household’s ACP benefit. If this is not an option, advise the applicant to contact the internet provider, preferably before beginning the ACP application, to be added to the existing account.
Yes. Once an account is created (the applicant creates a username and password), the applicant can save the application and then log back into their account. We recommend using the Enrollment Assistance Handbill so the applicant can write down their login information to have handy later.
The username may have already been used by another applicant and this does not necessarily mean that someone has applied in their name. Have the applicant try to create a different username.
In their application, houseless or highly-mobile individuals can use the address of a shelter or enter 123 Homeless.
The National Verifier will likely need to confirm their location. Applicants may be prompted to fill out USAC’s Household Worksheet and upload the worksheet with their application, or confirm their address by inputting their address latitude and longitude in the National Verifier.
Houseless or highly mobile individuals can choose to find a plan that supports mobile internet. With GetACP.org, applicants can find and choose ACP providers that support “Mobile Internet” plans.
The Lifeline program is another option available to support houseless and highly-mobile individuals who need mobile internet options. Individuals can receive both the Lifeline and ACP benefits at the same time as well as choose to apply the benefits with the same company or different companies.
Ask if there is a family member or someone else available that can help them walk through the process together. If possible, assist the applicant with their enrollment in-person. Another option is to provide a paper application (English, Spanish) to the applicant which they can complete and mail along with supporting documentation to:
ACP Support Center
P.O. Box 9100,
Wilkes-Barre PA 18773
Ask if another family member has an email account that can be used. If this is not possible, ask for follow-up information and you can both provide this how-to and also walk them through setting up an email account.
Taxes and fees are part of the amount charged to a consumer so they are included in the ACP reimbursement, instead of consumers receiving small bills for taxes and fees alone. Therefore, the household should be sure to clarify if there will be any remaining portion they are responsible for, if the cost is hovering around the $30 price point (or $75 for the Enhanced Tribal Benefit). If the family chooses an internet service plan that is more than their ACP monthly benefit of $30 (they will be responsible for the difference). For example, if the service plan is $60 per month, the ACP will cover $30 (for non-Tribal benefit applicants), and the consumer would be responsible for the rest.
Credit checks are prohibited as a condition of household participation in a service plan. Service providers are also prohibited from up or down-selling customers on any plans. They also cannot conduct a credit check or make them sign a contract. (source)
No. The benefit is not a direct-to-consumer benefit. It is a discount off the monthly service bill and/or device. The internet service provider will receive reimbursement directly from the FCC program.
If families have any questions or need assistance, they can contact the ACP Support Center of the Universal Service Administrative Co, who administers the ACP on behalf of the FCC via:
Additionally they can learn more and access a live chat at GetACP.org
Online at fcc.gov/acp.
If a household moves and obtains a new address, they do not need to reapply for the ACP benefit. You can update this information in your National Verifier account. You can still use your account number to update your ISP or move to a new ISP.
Specifically, the applicant should:
In most cases, the applicant should not experience an interruption in service.
No. Applying for the ACP or receiving ACP benefits will not jeopardize anyone’s ability to obtain a green card or sponsor a family member under the public charge test, as it is not considered in the test. (source)
The FCC recognizes that more than one economic household can reside at the same address, such as shelters for unhoused individuals. Unhoused individuals may therefore enroll using the address of the shelter where they reside (source). They may need to submit a household worksheet to specify that they do not share income with someone already enrolled in the ACP within the shelter.
Houseless individuals may also use 123 homeless in the address field.
Yes! In fact, qualifying for Lifeline makes you automatically eligible for the ACP. You can use both benefits with the same service provider, or use the benefits with different service providers.(source)
As part of the ACP benefit, households receive a one-time discount of $100 towards a connected device such as a laptop, tablet, or desktop computer (as long as the household contributes at least $10 but less than $50 towards this device).
Unfortunately, as many ACP-providers do not participate in this portion of the benefit at this time, many applicants will not be able to utilize the $100 device discount benefit. It’s important to note that the device discount must be used with the same provider with which the applicant is receiving their $30 or $75 per month internet discount.
If their provider does not participate, they can use the Alliance for Technology Refurbishing & Reuse’s search tool to search for an affordable device. They can also check with their local library and school district to learn about other discount or lending programs.