The Federal Communications Commission is making some changes to the Affordable Connectivity Program to make it easier for those who qualify to sign up. Two new Notices of Funding Opportunities will ease the influx of registration requests by providing additional grants for the program.
The Affordable Connectivity Program provides a $30 discount to qualifying low-income families in the U.S. for high-speed internet services offering a minimum 100Mbps download speed. Tribal residents can receive a $75 discount. The program also offers $100 off devices from over 1,300 participating providers.
In an announcement, Chairwoman of the Federal Communications Commission Jessica Rosenworcel said:
“I’m grateful for the continued engagement of local leaders who have partnered with us to spread the word about the nation’s largest broadband affordability effort. We’ve had great success so far – with more than 18 million households enrolled– but we know there are many more households we can reach with help to get online and stay online. No strategy has proven more effective than empowering trusted leadership and organizations to work with families and raise awareness about the Affordable Connectivity Program.”
Since its launch in December of 2021, the Affordable Connectivity Program has only reached about 25 percent of qualified households. The new Notices of Funding Opportunities aim to reach more people in unserved or underserved communities.
The new Notices of Funding Opportunities will focus $5 million each towards the National Competitive Outreach Program as well as the Tribal Competitive Outreach Program.
To receive a discount on internet, qualifying households must submit an application before 6:00 p.m. EDT on June 30th, 2023 for the National Competitive Outreach Program. The deadline for the Tribal Competitive Outreach Program is scheduled for July 28th, 2023 at 6:00 p.m. EDT.
There are three qualifying factors to register with the Affordable Connectivity Program:
- Income at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines – $27,180 for an individual or $55,500 for a family of four
- Enrolled in other government assistance programs, such as SNAP, Medicaid, WIC, SSI, FPHA, Veterans Pension/Survivors Benefits, reduced school lunch programs, Federal Pell Grant recipients, LifeLine, and select Tribal assistant programs
- Meet the eligibility criteria for a participating provider’s low-income internet program