On New Year’s Eve, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced the launch of the Affordable Connectivity Program, the successor to the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program which helped nearly 9 million afford internet access during the pandemic. The program’s launch comes as a result of congressional directives within the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
Now, eligible households can receive up to $30 per month off their internet service and up to $75 per month off for households on Tribal lands. The program also affords eligible applicants the chance to receive a one-time $100 credit for the purchase of a computer or tablet from participating providers with certain additional conditions.
Eligibility criteria for the Affordable Connectivity Program can be shown through various ways, the FCC explains. Qualifying criteria includes if a household has an income at or below 200% of the federal poverty guidelines, participates in assistance programs such as Medicaid, Lifeline, and certain Tribal food programs, qualifies for the reduced school lunch program, or received a Pell Grant during the current award year.
“The response to the Emergency Broadband Benefit proved what many knew to be true: the cost of high-speed internet is out of reach for too many of us,” FCC Chairwoman Rosenworcel said in a statement. “Now with the long-term Affordable Connectivity Program, we have the opportunity to enroll even more households and help ensure they can afford the internet connections they need for work, school, health care and more for years.”
Final program rules are set to be adopted by the FCC in January.