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ACP Program Ending: Here’s What You Can Do to Lower Your Internet Bill

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The Affordable Care Program (ACP) was launched in 2021 with the goal of bringing Internet access to more Americans. It did this by providing eligible households with a monthly Internet plan stipend, as well as money to apply towards the purchase of a computer or tablet. 

Funding expired on the ACP in 2024, and Congress declined to renew it. The last month of full ACP coverage was April 2024. If you participated in the ACP program, there are some steps you can take to lessen the impact on your wallet now that it’s over. Read on to learn about the end of the ACP program.  

What is the ACP Program?

The ACP was a government initiative that sought to bridge the digital divide by providing monthly wireless connectivity to low-income households. This federal program was signed into law in 2021 by President Joe Biden, during the height of the pandemic. 

Households that earned up to 200% of the federal poverty guidelines were eligible for the program. ACP recipients were entitled to: 

  • A $30/month stipend per household towards Internet service ($75/month for Tribal households).
  • A one-time $100 stipend for the purchase of a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet. 

A number of national Internet and telecommunications companies participated in the program, including Verizon, T-Mobile, AT&T, Xfinity, Cox, and Spectrum. An estimated 23 million households received ACP benefits. 

When is the ACP Program Ending?

Funding for the ACP program expired this year, and the last month of coverage for recipients was April 2024. As such, the FCC has initiated an enrollment freeze on the program.   

Will the ACP Program Start Up Again?

While funding for the ACP program has expired, the FCC site reads, “Efforts in Congress to provide additional funding for the ACP are ongoing.” 

Indeed, FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel has been lobbying Congress to consider rebooting the program. Stay tuned for updates here and on the FCC’s official ACP page

What Should You Do Now That the ACP Program is Ending?

Now that the ACP program has ended, there are some steps you can take to soften the blow. 

Review your Internet Plan 

If you were receiving ACP benefits, your Internet plan has no doubt gotten more expensive. It’s important to retrieve your billing statement to determine how much you now owe each month. If the cost of your Internet bill outstrips your budget, you should look into competing low-cost Internet providers to see if you can get a more affordable plan. 

Your geographic location will determine what kinds of plans and providers you have access to. Cable Internet and Fiber Internet networks and plans are common throughout populated areas of the U.S., but are less available in rural regions. In the absence of these Internet connection options, you may be able to sign up for a DSL or Satellite Internet plan. In general, Fiber Internet and Satellite Internet plans tend to cost the most. DSL plans tend to cost the least, while Cable Internet plan prices are usually somewhere in the middle. 

For more on these types of broadband service, check out our informative guides:

Check Out the LifeLine Program

If you were on the ACP program and are now looking for other types of financial assistance for your wireless bills, we suggest looking into the Federal Communications Commission’s Lifeline program. This FCC initiative is aimed at making cell phone and Internet connectivity more affordable for low-income households by providing a monthly subsidy. This includes $9.25/month towards home Internet or cell phone plans

Households that earn up to 135% of the federal poverty guidelines are considered eligible. This makes the Lifeline eligibility requirements more strict than those of the ACP program. To learn more, check out the Universal Service Administrative Company’s Lifeline hub (the USAC manages the program). 

The Bottom Line

The ACP program may have ended, but don’t despair. There are steps you can take to lessen the impact of the ACP’s expiration, including finding a low-cost Internet plan, or signing up for the FCC’s Lifeline program. 

If you’re looking to save money on your cell phone bill, check out Navi’s Plan Finder tool, which will help direct you to the best cell phone deals on the market. 

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