1–2–3 Low Cost Internet!
The United Church of Christ Media Justice Ministry teamed up with our civil rights allies in 2021 and successfully persuaded Congress to adopt a new program that helps low-income households pay for high-speed internet. Now that Congress has acted, our biggest challenge is publicizing the program. Families and individuals need to hear from trusted members of their own communities to learn more — people like you! Learn more about the new Affordable Connectivity Program and how you can help.
We were so excited to spread the word about this program at the United Church of Christ’s weekly Thursdays for the Soul webinar series, you can get caught up quickly by watching the recording and downloading our toolkit.
What is the Affordable Connectivity Program?
The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) is a federal program designed to help low-income households pay for broadband internet service. Once an eligible household completes an application and is approved, it will receive a discount of up to $30 per month off its bill for mobile or home broadband internet services (up to $75 per month for households on tribal lands). The federal funds go directly to the service provider to cover the discount. In some cases, the subsidy will completely cover the cost of the internet service.
Who Is Eligible?
You are eligible for ACP if anyone in your household:
- Receives certain income-based federal benefits such as SNAP (food stamps), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), federal public housing assistance or Medicaid benefits;
- Receives Women’s Infants and Children (WIC) nutrition program benefits or qualifies for the free and reduced-price school lunch or breakfast programs;
- Received a federal Pell Grant during the current school year;
- Participates in other programs, including tribal and veterans programs. Call the FCC at 877–384–2575 or visit www.getinternet.gov to find out if you are eligible.
How Can I Apply?
- Call 877–384–2575 to request an application or to get more information, or go directly to ACPBenefit.org to apply.
- Work with your local internet company to apply — major companies like Comcast (Xfinity), Charter (Spectrum), AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile are participating and can help you get connected. Find more participating providers at https://acpbenefit.org/companies-near-me/.
What Else Should I Know?
- Owing money to your provider does not prevent you from participating. A company cannot use a credit check to keep you out of the basic ACP program.
- You can choose any product the company offers or you can apply the discount to your existing plan.
- You do not have to pay any early-termination fees.
- You can keep your service even if you are up to 90 days late in paying a bill.
Spread the Word!
UCC Media Justice is encouraging UCC churches, conferences, associations and individual members — and our friends throughout the faith and humanitarian communities — to help spread the word by distributing and posting the flyer found at the end of this blog. The flyer includes the phone numbers of government staff members who can help households sign up. If you take these steps, let us know! Post on social media using #GetInternet or #UCCMediaJustice or email us.
1. Share copies of the flyer through direct service projects or with other organizations who serve low-income people.
- Does your church run a soup kitchen? Hand out copies at dinner. Do you volunteer at a food pantry? Put copies of the flyer in bags of groceries. Volunteering at a community event or homeless shelter? Bring flyers and help people understand what the program is about.
- Support interested people in person by helping them with your phone or computer to go online to apply or to learn more.
- Distribute the flyers at your church or community events, or post them on local bulletin boards.
- Are you raising funds for a local group or people in need? Ask if you can also send along copies of flyers for them to distribute.
2. Use these outreach resources to share this program with others. These include social media, newsletter articles, additional flyers and more.
3. Take the next step and host a meeting, discussion, or outreach session.
- You can send an email to invite speakers from UCC Media Justice, the Federal Communications Commission or your local community. For example, libraries, schools or members of the National Digital Inclusion Alliance may have someone local to come and speak about digital literacy and the ACP.
Download a copy of the UCC Love Your Neighbors: Get Them Internet toolkit.