By Mitch Coppes, Government Relations Senior Specialist, Goodwill Industries International
The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) provides affordable, high-speed home internet service to more than 21 million households across the country. With support from the ACP, low-income families, people with disabilities, students, rural residents, and older Americans that struggle to get online can now access virtual learning, find jobs, and participate in the digital economy.
The ACP, authorized under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, offers a discount of up to $30 per month toward home internet service for eligible households (up to $75 per month for those on Tribal lands), and participants can also receive a one-time discount of up to $100 toward the purchase of a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet. Households may be eligible to enroll in the program if they have an income below 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Line, or if someone in the household receives government benefits through programs like SNAP, Medicaid, Pell Grants, or Free and Reduced-Price School Lunch.
Local Goodwill® organizations play an important role in ensuring that the people who receive Goodwill services, customers, and employees understand the benefits available to them through the ACP and are able to enroll in the program. These ACP outreach and enrollment activities reflect Goodwill’s commitment to equipping people with digital skills, eliminating barriers to connectivity and connected devices, and helping to bridge the digital divide in the communities we serve.
At the current rate of usage, however, the initial $14.2 billion provided by the infrastructure law to fund the ACP will be exhausted early next year. Congress must act soon to extend funding for the program so that millions of households don’t lose the essential connectivity they need to live, work, and learn. President Biden has requested an additional $6 billion to continue funding the ACP through December 2024. Visit our Legislative Action Center to contact your Members of Congress and help us ensure that individuals and families in your community can continue to access affordable internet service.