Check out a complete guide to What is Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) or Emergency Broadband Benefit EBB free phone, tablet & laptop offers from US Government.
A life without the Internet nowadays seems impossible, which has taken over smartphones and smartwatches as well. Pandemic has more stress on having a reliable Internet connection at home. It is essential to work from home, study online, or keep us entertained when the social gathering was impossible. But, using the network data connection the whole day can surely put a hole in our pocket. So, affordable broadband is what we need in our daily lives.
Federal Communication Commission has announced a new program for low-income families to provide internet at discount. Earlier in 2021 Emergency broadband benefit program was established for low-income people who lost their jobs in COVID-19. Now Affordable Connectivity Program has been introduced to meet the needs of the poor for broadband connections at home. More than 10 million households are now connected with this program to save money.
One has to meet the criteria to qualify for this program. The qualified member will get a discount of $30/month and for tribal areas, $75 has been set by FCC. Wow! That's a great benefit.
This article will be long and so I have divided this into various small parts. Here are all the details about the ACP program by FCC -
- Documents Needed
- Providers List
- Statewise List
- Free Phone
- Phone Number
- Free Tablet Government
- How to get Free Tablet
- Near Me
Which Internet service providers provide internet under Affordable connectivity program?
The internet service providers that are associated with ACP are AT&T, CenturyLink, Frontier, QLink Wireless, Google Fiber, Optimum, Sparklight, Spectrum, Starry Internet, Suddenlink, T-Mobile, Verizon, Xfinity, and many more.
Affordable Connectivity Program Eligibility | EBB Program
People with low income are only eligible for the qualifying Affordable Connectivity program. A household is eligible for an Affordable connectivity program if the household income is less than 200% as per the Federal Poverty Guideline or if a member of the household meets the following criteria -
- If any member of your family qualifies for the Lifeline program(a program that provides discounts on the telephone, broadband, and voice packages) are eligible for ACP. Through the Lifeline program, a discount of $9 a month and $34 a month for tribal areas will be given.
- If any member of your family participates in Federal Public Housing Assistance, Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Supplemental security income, and women, child, and infants special supplemental nutrition program you can be eligible for ACP.
- Participated in Tribal specific programs, such as Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance, tribal TANF, and food distribution programs on Indian reservations.
- Received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year.
- Meets the eligibility criteria for participating providers in existing low-income internet programs or
- If the household income is less than 200%, what does this mean?
|No.of People in HouseHold||Poverty Guideline|
For each additional person after eight, you can add $9080 to the final amount listed. The numbers are high for Alaska and Hawaii residents.
If any criteria above-mentioned have been met, the qualifier will be able to enjoy a one-time discount of $100 on a desktop computer, tablet, or laptop.
An eligible household can Skip the line?
What is skipping the line? Skip the line means if you are a part of the Lifeline program, you can directly contact your internet service provider to enroll for ACP. This means you don't have to fill in the form at the ACP site. You just need to follow up with the ISP and make sure it has been elected by FCC for this program.
Keep Your Paperwork Ready
If by any chance you're unable to skip the step, be prepared to keep all the important documents ready to apply for ACP. You will need proof of income, including either a tax return, pay stub, social security statement of benefits, or proof of program participation.
You directly qualify if you meet the following 4 criteria -
- Participate in one of these assistance programs:
- The National School Breakfast Program or the School Lunch Program, including through the USDA Community Eligibility Provision;
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program(SNAP)
- Federal Public Housing Assistance
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Veterans Pension or Survivor Benefits
- or Lifeline;
- Tribal People: Participates in one of these assistance programs and lives on Qualifying Tribal lands:
- Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance
- Tribal TANF
- Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations
- Tribal Head Start (income-based)
- Received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year;
- Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating provider's existing low-income internet program i.e., your income should be 200% less than the Federal Poverty line;
Affordable Connectivity Providers:
A number of telecom networks in the USA have been authorized to operate and run this service. Among the known providers include -
- Assurance Wireless
- Airtalk Wireless
- Boomerang Wireless
- QLink Wireless
- Cintex Wireless
- Century Link
- Frontier Wireless
- SafeLink Wireless
- Access Wireless
- American Assistance
- Blue Jay Wireless
- Feelsafe Wireless
- Safetynet Wireless
- Standup Wireless
- Life Wireless
- Tag Mobile
- Terracom Wireless
- Easy Wireless
- Choice Wireless
- Starry Internet
- Xcess Telecom
Any mobile network can apply for inclusion in this program.
ACP Statewise List:
Here is the list of State-wise service providers -
Free Phone Service Providers
|Alabama||T-Mobile, Access, CSpire, PineBelt Communications, Southern Linc, Twire|
|Alaska||Copper Valley Telecom, GCI, Cordova Telecom Cooperative, TelAlaska, Easy Wireless|
|Arizona||Access, Blue Jay, enTouch, Terracom, CellularOne, Choice Wireless|
|Arkansas||Access, Assist, Easy Wireless, True Wireless, Standup Wireless, Budget Mobile, Cintex, enTouch, Life Wireless, Standup, Tag Mobile, True Wireless, Wireless for Hope|
|Colorado||Access, Blue Jay Wireless, Choice Wireless, enTouch, Terracom, Viaero Wireless|
|Georgia||Southern Linc, Life Wireless, SafeNet Wireless, T-Mobile|
|Hawaii||Sandwich Isles Communications Inc, T-Mobile|
|Idaho||Inland Cellular, T-Mobile, Assurance|
|Illinois||Access, American assistance, IV Cellular, Platinum Tell Wireless, Life Wireless, Assurance|
|Kentucky||Access, American Assistance, Blue Jay Wireless, Budget Mobile, Easy Wireless, Feelsafe Wireless, SafetyNet, Tag Mobile, TruConnect, New Phone Wireless, T-Mobile,|
|Louisiana||Standup Wireless, Access Wireless, Budget Mobile, enTouch Wireless, Life Wireless, Tag Mobile, T-Mobile, Wireless for Hope|
|Maryland||True Wireless, Assurance|
|Mississippi||Cspire, Southern Linc|
|Missouri||NorthWest Missouri Cellular|
|Nevada||Choice Wireless, Assurance|
|New Mexico||Choice Wireless|
|North Dakota||Red Rock Telecom|
|Oklahoma||Pine Cellular, Panhandle Telecommunications Systems|
|South Dakota||Red Rock Telecom, Assurance|
|Texas||Panhandle Telecommunications Systems, West Central Wireless|
|Washington||Inland Cellular, Assurance|
|Wisconsin||Cellcom, Natural Wireless|
You can check out the list of all government phone providers here.
How To Apply for an Affordable Connectivity Program
- To apply for ACP there are three ways, the first one is easy which is to apply online. There are chances of immediate approval. If not, then you have to provide some additional documents. Then follow up the steps to get a discount ACP.
- The second option is to apply by mail. You need to fill up the application and mail it to the ACP office address.
- The third and last option available is to contact your internet service provider and make sure it has been elected for the ACP program. ISP will guide you through the required steps to complete the process.
Always keep in mind, that the qualifier always needs to follow up with his ISP. The ACP will not pay you by cheque, but rather it offers a discount on your broadband bills.
Important things to keep in mind if qualified for ACP
One household cannot get more than one ACP discount from more than one ISP. You cannot get multiple discounts from the same home. This may prevent you from getting any further discounts from ACP in the future.
This is also one's responsibility to notify ACP if your income exceeds the poverty threshold. This should be done within 30 days of increased income.
ACP Free Phone:
The primary objective of these ACP phone companies is to provide free phone service to eligible customers and also offer free phones if customers don't have one.
ACP Free Tablet:
Through EBB or the ACP program, you can a free tablet as well. There are many operators/sellers that are providing free tablets and here they are -
- QLink Wireless ACP: QLink is a nationwide ACP provider that operates in many states of the USA including Arkansas, Colorado, Arizona, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Louisana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, Missouri, Ohio, Okhlama, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin. You will get a free tablet from QLink with a charge of $10.01 a month including a free monthly service plan with unlimited text, talk, and data. To enroll visit https://enroll.qlinkwireless.com/signup and enter your zip to check eligibility. Learn how to get QLink free tablet
- Sky network: Check out the eligibility criteria for Sky tablet
- Standup Wireless Free Tablet: Standup Wireless is a network provider registered with the US government to offer ACP service in all states of the USA. You can visit https://standupwireless.com/acp to know more.
For this, we have compiled a full article on how to get ACP Free tablet from the government.
Which Tablets are Available under the Affordable Connectivity Program ACP Free Tablet:
When you apply for an ACP free tablet, your provider will let you know whether you are eligible to receive it or not. If eligible they will inform you about it and ship the available device with them to you within a few days. However, they will not let you know which device you will get and you have no choice but to choose which one you want. The device brand and model are based on several factors like the state where you live, eligibility criteria, & availability of the product. Nevertheless, all free tablet ACP providers offer tablets with the latest features like WiFi connectivity, Bluetooth, and SIM card slot (in some models).
Under the ACP free tablet offer, you will get one of the following devices -
- Samsung Galaxy Tab S7
- LG G Pad 5
- Lenovo Tab 5
- Sky Tablet
- Older Apple iPad model
ACP Program Laptop Offer:
Under the ACP scheme, you will get a discount of $100 when you purchase a laptop, personal desktop, or computer. Learn more about qualifications under the Affordable Connectivity Program Laptop offer.
ACP Program Phone Number:
You can call any of the network providers in your state as mentioned in the chart/tablet above and call them. For a phone number, you are just a Google search away.
Alternatively, to learn more you can email FCC at ACPspeakers@fcc.gov dedicated email support.
ACP Program Verizon:
Verizon is also a participating cellular provider supporting ACP or EBB programs as specified by the government. Qualifying households will get up to $50 off mobile and home internet plans per month. You can order it from here.
ACP Provider Near Me:
It's hard to tell you about one or two nationwide providers because every operator has a license for distribution in one or two or a maximum of 3 states or in some cases 4 states of the USA. So this becomes difficult to locate free phone ACP service providers near your locations.
This is why we have created a separate guide on how to find free Government phone stands near me. With that guide, you can easily locate or find or get in touch with an ACP service provider in your area.
FAQs of Affordable Connectivity Program:
I know, I know you have some questions regarding this free government phone service. Let me answer some FAQs for you.
Are Lifeline and ACP the same?
Lifeline is an FCC permanent program to support affordable access to essential communication such as telephone, and broadband internet access. The ACP is a new program initiated to provide discount broadband to low-income groups and in general, both mean the same, i.e., earlier it was called LifeLine or EBB program, and now it's called the ACP program by FCC.
What is the term of ACP, or how long the ACP will last?
As per the FCC, the Affordable Connectivity program is a long-term program. The government has committed $14 million to this program and there is no end date provided as of now as the country moves toward recession.
Does AT&T accept ACP?
To reduce the cost of broadband, AT&T and Cricket Wireless have participated in a new Affordable connectivity program. A discount of $30/month and $75 for tribal areas has been issued.
Can I use EBB for both Phones and the Internet?
Yes, you can use both at the same time from the same account.
What is Free Government Phone Louisiana:
ACP Program or the Lifeline program is available in Louisiana state through AirTalk Wireless, Standup Wireless, Access Wireless, Budget Mobile, enTouch Wireless, Life Wireless, Tag Mobile, T-Mobile, and Wireless for Hope networks.
So that was all about the EBB or Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) benefits, tablets, and mobile phones. If you are eligible, then you should definitely opt for one such discounted service.
Update September 2023: Added proper conclusion section.
This post was last modified on October 9, 2023 12:38 PM