Internet

The Best Ways to Use the Federal Affordable Connectivity Program Benefit

Qualifying households in the Twin Cities can get FREE internet under the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), which provides a $30 monthly credit ($75/month in Tribal lands) towards internet and mobile services.

What started as emergency relief for Americans forced to work, learn and connect with loved ones remotely during the COVID-19 crisis, financial support to ensure broadband connectivity has gained more permanence under the Biden Administration’s infrastructure bill. The reason: 19 million Americans nationwide still do not subscribe to broadband with baseline speeds, according to the FCC. The largest share comes from households earning less than $30,000 a year.

Who qualifies for ACP?

If your household income is less than twice the federal poverty level – approximately $55,000 a year for a family of four or $27,000 a year for an individual – you will qualify for the benefit. Additionally, if you receive SNAP/EBT, Medicaid, or free and reduced-price school lunch, or if you receive one of many of the other federal assistance benefits, you would also qualify.

What are the best ways to use the $30 benefit?

Xfinity, the country’s largest broadband provider, is participating in ACP. Odds are quite good there are qualified households among the 60 million homes and businesses with access to Xfinity services, which has already connected a cumulative total of 10 million people since 2011 to low-cost internet through its Internet Essentials program. But ACP is a complete game-changer, effectively making high-speed internet free to qualified individuals after the discount is applied. Here are two smart ways to use the $30 benefit for Xfinity services.

  1. High-Speed ​​Internet: At a cost of $29.95 a month – which is completely covered by ACP – Internet Essentials Plus offers twice the download speeds – up to 100 MBPS a month – as its standard Internet Essentials service. The higher speeds improve the performance of video and music streaming, video calls and gaming, and comes with a free cable modem and Wi-Fi router.
  2. Internet + One Line of Mobile: Qualified individuals can also stretch their $30 credit to cover all but $25 of Internet Essentials and one line of Unlimited data on Xfinity Mobile. How? Standard Internet Essentials service costs just $9.95 a month. If you add one line of Unlimited data on Xfinity Mobile at $45 a month, the cost is just $24.95 after you apply the $30 ACP credit. Xfinity Mobile’s 5G service is also included for all of its mobile customers, in addition to automatic connectivity to 21 million Wi-Fi hotspots nationwide.

What’s the fastest way to sign up?

First, visit the National Verifier to check eligibility and obtain a National Verifier ID.

Once you have a National Verifier ID, there are three ways Comcast is making the ACP benefit easy to access and sign up for Xfinity Internet and mobile service:

  • Online: New and existing Xfinity Internet or Internet Essentials customers can visit www.xfinity.com/acp.
  • Call: Individuals can determine their eligibility and sign up for service by calling 1-844-963-0231. Individuals can also speak to a dedicated ACP Enrollment and Support Center that is available from 8 am to 12 am daily, with multi-lingual capabilities to assist anyone interested in the program.
  • Visit an Xfinity Store: People will be able to visit 500+ Xfinity Stores nationwide to sign up for Internet Essentials Plus, a service that includes 100 Mbps speed, a cable modem, access to millions of Wi-Fi hotspots, and unlimited data for $29.95 per month. During their visit, customers can also learn more about how to enroll in ACP to get Internet service for free.

“With school starting and the world becoming even more digital, it is crucial that everyone has the needed resources and opportunities to excel,” said Kalyn Hove, Regional Senior Vice President, Comcast Twin Cities. “The Affordable Connectivity Program is a once in a lifetime opportunity that Comcast is proud to be participating in and offer to any of our customers who qualify so they can benefit from the connectivity needed to function in today’s world.”

Want to learn more?

On September 15, 2022, Sahan Journal–with support from Comcast–is hosting a free virtual community discussion that uncovers how the landscape around digital equity and access has changed in the last two years, and how that has impacted schooling and remote work in the state of Minnesota. This discussion is ideal for parents who are in the midst of planning for the new school year, or for adult learners and remote workers who have questions on how to take advantage of local and state programs that not only offer affordable internet access and technology, but ensure that you have the proper skills to use hardware and devices, and access broadband when available. Register here no later than September 8, 2022: www.tinyurl.com/digital-equity

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