AUSTIN (KXAN) — Thousands of Austin households now qualify for free or discounted broadband internet through the Federal Communications Commission’s Affordable Connectivity Program.
Internet access has become more and more of a necessity in the Digital Age, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic forced most people into their homes, relying on the internet for work or school.
The ACP will provide a $30 per month discount toward broadband services. Many Austin-area internet providers have a $30 per month plan, meaning that those who qualify would pay nothing for monthly plans.
There will also be a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from a participating provider as long as the buyer contributes more than $10 and less than $50 toward the purchase price.
“Austin’s vision is for every resident to be fully engaged in the digital society and to have access to digital and communications technology,” said Rondella Hawkins, the City of Austin’s Telecommunications and Regulatory Affairs Officer. “The FCC’s new Affordable Connectivity Program with its discounts for internet access and a device goes a long way to help those most vulnerable who are now unserved or underserved online.”
A household is eligible for the ACP if the household income is at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines — based on the number of people in the household. It starts with a household of one person with an annual income of $27,180 — or if a household member meets at least one of the criteria below:
- Received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year
- Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating provider’s existing low-income internet program
- Participates in one of these assistance programs:
- National School Lunch Program or the School Breakfast Program, including through the USDA Community Eligibility Provision
- Federal Public Housing Assistance
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Veterans pension or Survivor Benefits
There’s more ACP information and who can qualify at www.austintexas.gov/AffordableInternet or by calling the ACP Support Center at 877-384-2575.