Where’s the money? Do you qualify for free internet service?

The Affordable Connectivity Program offers a $30 monthly discount on internet access for certain households. It also provides discounts to buy computers and tablets.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — When you think of basic utilities, things like food, water, electricity and plumbing come to mind, but what about internet access? 

Many experts agree that access to high-speed internet is now critical to survival in the modern economy. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) just took a major step to provide access to eligible households, based on their monthly income. 

The Affordable Connectivity Program provides a monthly discount on internet service up to $30 for eligible households. Those same households can also receive a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer or tablet from participating providers if they contribute more than $10 and less than $50 toward the purchase price. 

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You might think entertainment or streaming first but the internet is also vital for communication, safety, education, medicine and a whole host of other information. According to the latest Pew research, 93% of Americans say they use the internet, but only about 3 in 4 adults say they have broadband access at home. 

Who is eligible for the Affordable Connectivity Program?

A household is eligible for the FCC’s Affordable Connectivity Program if it meets at least one of the criteria below:

  • Has an income that is at or below 200% of federal poverty guidelines
  • Participates in certain assistance programs, such as SNAP, Medicaid, Federal Public Housing Assistance, SSI, WIC or Lifeline
  • Participates in Tribal specific programs, such as Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance, Tribal TANF, or Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations
  • Is approved to receive benefits under the free and reduced-price school lunch program or the school breakfast program, including through the USDA Community Eligibility Provision in the 2019-2020, 2020-2021, or 2021-2022 school year
  • Received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year
  • Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating provider’s existing low-income program

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