The “digital divide”—that gap between individuals who do and do not have access to technology devices and reliable internet service—has become more noticeable over the past two years.
Because the COVID-19 pandemic made distance learning, medical appointments by video, ordering supplies online and other internet-required tasks much more common, we have learned just how dependent we are on fast and reliable internet connections. But for many American families with low incomes, internet service is unaffordable.
However, there is good news. You may qualify to receive up to $30 a month off your monthly internet bill under the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), a U.S. government program run by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to help low-income households pay for internet service and connected devices like laptops, tablets, or desktop computers.
Households can qualify for this program based on several criteria, including income level, and eligibility for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability benefits, the National School Lunch Program, or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). There are several additional ways to qualify. You can apply for ACP online, by mail, or by contacting your internet company.
Other key facts about the Affordable Connectivity Program:
Participating internet providers (dozens of companies in Illinois are participating in this program) can answer your eligibility questions, guide you through the application process, and fill you in on what plans are available at a discount. Click here to find participating companies near you.