Help With Internet Costs Available to Ohioans
The need for reliable broadband connectivity has never been more important as Ohioans depend on the internet for work, health care and education. While many internet service providers, including several members of OCTA – Ohio’s Broadband and Cable Association, offer low-cost broadband service to qualifying households, last year the federal government launched the temporary Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) program to support broadband adoption during the COVID-19 crisis. Now, qualifying households can receive assistance paying for internet service and receive a discount on a device through the new Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), which replaces the EBB.
Launched on January 1, 2022, the ACP is a program through the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that provides a discount of up to $30 per month ($75 per month on qualifying Tribal lands) toward a household’s internet subscription. The program also includes a one-time $100 discount of a laptop or desktop computer, or tablet from participating providers if the purchaser contributes more than $10 and less than $50 toward the purchase price.
To qualify, a household must meet at least one of these criteria:
- Has an income that is below 200% of the federal poverty guidelines; or
- Participates in certain assistance programs such as the
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
- Federal Public Housing Assistance
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC)
- Participates in Tribal specific programs such as the 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;
- Receives a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year; or
- Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating provider’s existing low-income program.
For households eligible to participate in ACP, they must complete two steps to enroll.
- Go to ACPBenefit.org to submit an application or to print out a mail-in application.
- Contact an internet provider in their area to select a plan and have the discount applied to their account. (Search for participating providers here.)
Households previously enrolled in the Emergency Broadband Benefit will continue to receive their monthly benefit until March 1, 2022, and then roll onto the ACP.