High speed internet is no longer a luxury, it’s a necessity. And with the COVID-19 pandemic now entering its third year, access to affordable and reliable high speed internet, also known as broadband, is essential to providing the connections Californians need to family, friends, health care providers, work and so much more.
Unfortunately for many Californians, affordable high speed internet is not available where they live.
That’s why AARP fought for the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), which provides new long-term assistance for Californians residents who are struggling to afford the high-speed internet services they need in these challenging times. Applications are now being accepted for the ACP, a $14.2 billion federal program created late last year as part of the bipartisan infrastructure bill.
The ACP provides eligible recipients a discount of up to $30 per month for high speed internet services. For Californians living on Tribal lands, the monthly household benefit is $75 per month. It also includes a one-time discount of up to $100 for a laptop, desktop computer or tablet purchased through a participating provider.
California residents who are struggling to get by may be eligible to apply for the ACP, including those who:
- Have household income of less than $25,760 for a single-family household or $43,540 for a couple (at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.)
- Qualify for the Lifeline program or Medicaid, receive SNAP or WIC benefits, Federal Public Housing Assistance or Veterans and Survivors Pension Benefits.
- Live on Tribal lands and have at least one person in the household who participates in Bureau of Indian Affairs general assistance, Tribally administered Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Head Start (only those households meeting its income qualifying standard), or the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations.
The ACP modifies and extends the temporary Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) program in effect last year as part of COVID-19 relief. Californians enrolled in the EBB Program before 6 p.m. ET on December 30, 2021 will continue to receive their current monthly benefit (up to $50) during the 60-day transition period, which ends on March 1, 2022. More than 8.5 million Americans took advantage of the EBB program during it’s tenure, but we know millions more could be eligible!
As the pandemic continues to take a severe financial toll on many California families, it is important that everyone take a close look at the new ACP benefit, because some families who weren’t eligible last year for the EBB program may be eligible now for the important broadband benefits provided by the ACP.
Californians can apply for the Affordable Connectivity Program now. AARP encourages all Americans who are without access to high-speed internet, or struggling to afford it, to look into the Affordable Connectivity Program today:
- Visit aarp.org/ACP for more information
- Call: 1-833-511-0311
- Text INTERNET to 22777