LEONARDTOWN, MD – Friday, Dec. 31, 2021, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) launched the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). This longer-term program was created by Congress in the Infrastructure and Jobs Act and replaced the Emergency Broadband Benefit program. This investment in broadband affordability will help ensure households can afford the internet connections they need for work, school, health care, and more.
The ACP provides a discount of up to $30 per month toward internet service for eligible households and up to $75 per month for households on qualifying Tribal lands. Eligible 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.
Enrollment in the ACP is now open for households with at least one member qualifying under any of the following criteria:
- Has an income that is at or below 200% of the 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;
- Received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year; or
- Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating provider’s existing low-income program.
The over 9 million households fully enrolled in the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program as of Dec. 31, 2021, will continue to receive their current monthly benefit until March 1, 2022. More information about steps current Emergency Broadband Benefit recipients must take to continue receiving the Affordable Connectivity Program benefit after March 1, 2022, will be available in the coming weeks.
For more information on broadband initiatives in St. Mary’s County, please visit https://www.stmarysmd.com/IT/Broadband/.