Readers Jan and Rebecca reached out to VERIFY to ask if an “affordable connectivity program” claimed to be run by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) was legitimate or a scam.
There are countless ads on social media offering a $30 discount on internet services through the program.
Can people really get discounted internet through the “Affordable Connectivity Program?”
Yes, people can really get discounted internet through the FCC’s Affordable Connectivity Program. The program offers a $30-per-month discount on internet services, but only low-income households qualify.
WHAT WE FOUND
The Affordable Connectivity Program is an initiative run by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that provides discounts for broadband internet and devices to people with low incomes.
The program provides a discount of up to $30 per month toward internet service for eligible households, and up to $75 per month for households on tribal lands. Eligible households can also receive a discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer or tablet.
Qualified households include those with incomes at or below 200% of the federal poverty line, as well as households with individuals participating in another benefit or assistance program. This includes students receiving federal Pell grants, people participating in SNAP, people on Medicaid, families with students receiving free or reduced lunch, families meeting eligibility requirements for their provider’s existing low-income internet program and households participating in a tribal assistance program.
The AARP says that 200% of the federal poverty line, which is currently based on 2021 income, is $27,180 for an individual and $55,500 for a household of four.
The Biden Administration says it has commitments from 20 internet providers, including Comcast, Cox Communications, AT&T and Verizon, to offer ACP-eligible households with an internet service plan that costs no more than $30 a month. When combined with the $30 discount offered through the Affordable Connectivity Program, the administration says, these homes can receive free internet service. The White House adds these plans must offer a minimum of 100 Mbps download speed.
According to AARP and Common Sense, a nonprofit that shares technology recommendations for families and schools, over 100 million people qualify for the program; that's nearly 40% of U.S. homes.
According to the Universal Service Administrative Co., the FCC-funded nonprofit that is running the program, 13.3 million households were enrolled in the Affordable Connectivity Program as of Aug. 22.
Interested people can check their eligibility and apply for the program anytime on a Universal Service Administrative Co. website dedicated to the Affordable Connectivity Program.