Internet Service Providers play a critical role in helping unconnected households to get online by applying their ACP benefit to a high-speed, home internet plan. Community members may need support finding “free with ACP” plans in their area and selecting the plan that fits their household needs. By building partnerships with Internet Service Providers (ISPs), organizations can provide start-to-finish support for applicants. Here are 5 steps to help households apply their ACP benefit to a home internet plan.
Determine which Internet Service Providers serve your community.
It’s important to know which ISPs serve your area. There are typically 2 to 3 large internet providers in urban and suburban areas, whereas rural areas may have more limited options with smaller ISPs.
Visit BroadbandNow and enter your zip code to determine which providers offer service in your community.
Note: just because a provider is listed, does not mean that they necessarily serve your whole area. To understand how much of your area the ISP serves, reference the “availability percentage” listed.
Find “free with ACP” plans.
The Affordable Connectivity Program offers eligible households $30 per month off their home internet bill. Many ISPs offer plans that cost less than $30 per month, making those plans “free with ACP.”
- The easiest way for community members to find low to no-cost plans is to visit our pre-enrollment tool, GetACP.org. The tool allows households to see if they qualify for the ACP, determine what documents they will need to apply for the benefit and learn about the “free with ACP” plans available in their zip code.
- Households can also visit the “Companies Near Me” tool on USAC’s website and use the “$0 with ACP” filter.
Understand each household’s internet needs.
Each internet provider offers plans with varying upload and download speeds. To help individuals understand the speeds they will need to meet their household needs, consider factors such as the number of individuals accessing the internet at one time and the activities they intend to use the internet for. For example, Interacting with social media requires a lower speed than a Zoom call or gaming. Use our Internet Speeds Postcard for a quick reference to share with households when selecting the appropriate plans for their needs.
Provide enrollment support tailored to the ISPs available in your area.
Each provider has a different process for applying the ACP code and getting households started with their service. The process can be confusing! Use our Quick Guide to see the step-by-step process for major national providers. If a provider available in your area is not included, we recommend calling that provider’s customer service number and asking the best way to apply the ACP code to their plans.
Note: If you are talking to a customer service representative on the phone, ask how long it will take the benefit to be applied to the household’s account. Registering the benefit can take over a month, which means an individual may be billed for their first month of service.
Invite ISPs to an ACP enrollment event.
If you are hosting an ACP enrollment event, consider inviting all ISPs serving your area. Providing community members with the opportunity to apply their benefit at the event, allows for start-to-finish enrollment support and reduces the number of households that need follow-up support or miss the final step altogether. When inviting ISPs to an event, it is important to make sure your organization is speaking with the correct representative and that the provider understands the guidelines of their role in the event. Use our ISP Event Guide for template language to create your request, example guidelines to establish with partners, and how to incorporate providers into the flow of your event.