Affordable Connectivity Program launched by FCC

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U.S. communications regulator the Federal Communications Commission has officially launched the Affordable Connectivity Program. 

In accordance with Congressional directives in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, this initiative is the $14.2bn successor to the Emergency Broadband Benefit which was launched to help almost 9 million afford internet access during the pandemic.  

Effective immediately, eligible households are encouraged to apply to receive up to $30 per month discount toward internet service 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.

A household is eligible for the Affordable Connectivity Program if a member of the household meets at least one of the criteria, including: an income that is at or below 200% of the federal poverty guidelines; participation in certain assistance programs, such as SNAP, Medicaid, Federal Public Housing Assistance, SSI, WIC, or Lifeline; participation 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; received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year; or meets the eligibility criteria for a participating provider's existing low-income program.

FCC Chairwoman, Jessica  Rosenworcel commented: ‘The response to the Emergency Broadband Benefit proved what many knew to be true: the cost of high-speed internet is out of reach for too many of us. Now, with the long-term Affordable Connectivity Program, we have the opportunity to enroll even more households and help ensure they can afford the internet connections they need for work, school, healthcare and more for years.’

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