You Can Now Get Free High-Speed Internet from ISPs & the Government

This week, the Biden administration announced a significant new partnership with 20 ISPs (including AT&T, Comcast, Spectrum, and Verizon), covering 80% of the U.S. population, in which the ISPs are offering discounted high-speed broadband internet for $30 per month to customers who qualify for the U.S. Government’s ‘Affordable Connectivity Program‘. The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), which claims over 11.5 million households have received benefit, offers at least a $30 per month in subsidies to eligible households, meaning that those who qualify for the program would effectively pay $0 for high-speed internet with the new partnership. Previously, ISPs could apply the subsidy, but were under no agreement to offer discounted service.




Internet Service Providers with Free High-Speed Internet

According to the White House press release, the following initial 20 companies have committed to offer ACP-eligible households at least one high-speed internet plan for $30 per month or less, with no additional fees and no data caps:

All plans are expected to offer download speeds of at least 100Mbps everywhere that the provider’s infrastructure is capable of it.

How to Qualify for Free High-Speed Internet through the Government

The income level for households that qualify for the subsidy has been expanded over previous versions as well. 48 million (40%) households in the country are now expected to qualify for the ACP. The FCC states that households are eligible for the benefit if they have an income at or below 200% of the federal poverty guidelines OR if a member of the household meets at least one of the criteria below:

  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as Food Stamps
  • Medicaid
  • Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA)
  • Veterans Pension and Survivors Benefit
  • Free and Reduced-Price School Lunch Program or School Breakfast Program, including at U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Community Eligibility Provision schools
  • Received a Federal Pell Grant in the current award year
  • Participates in Tribal specific programs, such as Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance, Head Start, Tribal TANF, or Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations
  • Have already received a LifeLine benefit
  • Qualify through your child or dependent
  • Or, you meet the eligibility criteria for a participating broadband provider’s existing low-income internet program

free internet ACP

How to Apply for Free High-Speed Internet

The White House is launching a new site getinternet.gov, which currently redirects to whitehouse.gov/getinternet/.

As was the case prior to this new partnership, there are 2 steps to getting free internet:




1. Apply for the ACP subsidy

You can apply online for the Affordable Connectivity Program through CheckLifeline.org or complete an application form (English here or Spanish here) and send it to:

USAC
Affordable Connectivity Support Center
P.O. Box 7081
London, KY 40742

2. Sign up for a participating ISP plan

If your household qualifies, post approval, your monthly internet bill from over 1,300 Affordable Connectivity partner internet service providers will be subsidized automatically with the credit. Note: only the 20 ISPs listed above offer discounted service of $30 or less, effectively resulting in free high-speed internet over 100Mbps with the $30 subsidy.

As highlighted in a previous ACP subsidy article, a one-time discount of up to $100 for a laptop, tablet, or desktop computer (with a co-payment of more than $10 but less than $50) is an additional benefit that may be claimed by eligible households.

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