Millions of American families are struggling in modern times, facing financial difficulties on multiple fronts. The ones who suffer most are low-income families who work hard but don’t have enough money left each month to afford reliable and high-speed broadband internet (or any internet at all). A new program seeks to fill in this gap in internet coverage and bless low-income families with free internet.
A Helping Hand
The Federal government realizes that a strongly connected country is a strong country. This means making home broadband internet access available even to those who can’t afford it. The new Affordable Connectivity Program is a $14 billion federal program designed to bring broadband internet into low-income households.
This is an extension of the previous COVID-19 program that contributed $50 a month to internet plans. The primary focus of that program was to make sure that low-income students and people working remotely from home could continue their prosperity with broadband. Now that people are out and about again, this new Federal program is geared more toward keeping low-income households connected in uncertain times.
How the Program Works
To qualify for this program, a household must have an income less than 50% of the federal standard for poverty. Households with just one person must have an income below $27,000, while a full-sized family of four would need to make less than $55,500. If you already benefit from certain federal programs, you may automatically qualify for the Affordable Connectivity Program. These programs include:
- Food Stamps
- School lunch program
What exactly does a family or individual get from this broadband assistance? You’ll receive up to $30 a month toward your internet bill. Those who live in areas of tribal land might receive a contribution of $75. That’s a large chunk of change off your monthly internet bill, and it’s great news for low-income families who depend on the internet for their livelihoods or education.
Another portion of the program allows for a nice $100 off your favorite laptop, desktop, or tablet. Families who have elementary, high school, or college students will definitely appreciate this generous offering by the government. In addition, if students have a current Federal Pell Grant, they also qualify for discount broadband and subsidies.
Why this Program Exists
The world has changed a lot in the last two years, probably faster and more prominently than it ever has in human history. Americans depend on internet connectivity as they depend on a family car. The internet itself is a form of “travel” that allows people to get somewhere without even leaving the house. You can sign up for online work, attend an online class, connect with your loved ones via video calls, and entertainment such as streaming your favorite TV shows and movies, streaming music, or playing online games all in one go, but that’s only available to people if they have access to the broadband they can afford.
Companies benefit from a connected America, so many people realize that this program is good for business, too. The infrastructure bill by President Biden included ways for broadband internet to reach more American households, giving low-income families a way to stay connected. Of course, this also helps businesses that will now get a whole new audience of Americans formerly cut off from their services and products.
Signing up is available through acp benefit.org. It doesn’t take very long to sign up, and it could pay off for so many families hurting right now who might not even have access to the internet yet. Getting a $30 a month/$360 a year discount on the internet might seem too good to be true. Still, in an era where Americans depend on online services, it’s only a natural progression of how the government views the internet itself.
It’s no longer just a place to be entertained. For many people, the internet is a workplace and a place where they get an education. Thankfully, the government is rising to the occasion and meeting the needs of low-income Americans previously cut off from the online world.
Call your internet service provider directly rather than ordering through a third party or placing a purchase online. Most ISPs participated in the program like HughesNet internet and Spectrum internet to name a few. A large number of aid initiatives are administered directly by the corporation.
If you are receiving public assistance, you may be eligible to obtain low-cost internet to free internet service by contacting your already enrolled programs. In addition, the professionals affiliated with these services can frequently provide important insight into alternative cost-cutting strategies, and they will give you instructions and guides on how to avail of the free internet service for your family.
Consider all of your alternatives. Even a small monthly savings of $5 or $10 might make a significant difference when you have a tight budget.