May 12, 2022

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants are among those categorically eligible for discounts of up to $30 per month toward internet service. They also can “receive a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from participating providers if the household contributes more than $10 and less than $50 toward the purchase price.”

The discounts are provided for households with lower incomes through the new federal Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). In addition to households with a member participating in SNAP, ACP-eligible households also include those with a member eligible for the National School Lunch Program or National School Breakfast Program , and those in receipt of the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), Medicaid, SSI (Supplemental Security Income), Pell grants, federal housing assistance, or Lifeline. Households participating in the Food Distribution on Indian Reservations Program (FDPIR) or certain other tribal programs  are also ACP-eligible; such households on tribal reservations can receive ACP internet discounts of up to $75 a month.

Gaps in internet access are particularly pronounced among households with lower incomes. Pew Research Center reports that in early 2021 “[a]bout four-in-ten adults with lower incomes [did] not have home broadband services (43 percent) or a desktop or laptop computer (41 percent ).”

At a May 9 White House Rose Garden event, President Biden explained the importance of making broadband more accessible and affordable. He said, “You know, the need for high-speed Internet…is a little bit like what used to be probably what my grandfather talked about: needing to have a telephone. It’s pretty consequential. And it’s only going to keep growing, this need. High-speed Internet is not a luxury any longer, it’s a necessity. And that’s why the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law included $65 billion to make sure we expand access to broadband Internet in every region of the country— urban, suburban, and rural [everywhere,] so every household in America can get connected.”

The Biden administration has launched a new webpage with ACP details. Households can apply online or request a mail-in application over the phone at 877-384-2575.

The administration is enlisting state agencies, organizations, schools, and individuals as “enrollment partners” to help spread the word about the internet discount availability and will be hosting 10 local enrollment events across the country this spring. Among governmental entities already partnering with the White House on ACP outreach are Michigan, Massachusetts, Philadelphia, Mesa, and New York City. Propel, whose app Providers serves 5 million SNAP households, also is building ACP awareness.

Let the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) know you want to be an ACP outreach partner by signing up on the FCC website.  A new toolkit from the FCC provides an array of resources for building consumer awareness of the ACP—from fact sheets, flyers, and posters, to audio PSAs, infographics, and social media messages.