Eligible households in Virginia can sign up to receive $30 a month to help pay for high-speed internet through the federal Affordable Connectivity Program, which is part of the bipartisan infrastructure bill that passed last year.
On May 10, the Biden administration announced that 20 internet providers across the country have agreed to offer ACP-eligible families at least one high-speed internet plan for $30 a month or less -- meaning that access to high-speed internet would be free under the new federal program.
The three major internet providers -- AT&T, Comcast and Verizon, among others -- have committed to either increase speeds or cut prices to offer ACP-eligible households high-speed, high-quality internet plans for no more than $30 per month. The Biden Administration asked the providers to offer the internet plans with no fees and no data caps, according to the White House website.
A high-speed internet plan is defined as one that offers download speeds of at least 100 Megabits per second everywhere that the provider’s infrastructure is capable of it, according to the White House website.
ACP-eligible households can also apply to receive a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet if they contribute more than $10 and less than $50 toward the purchase price.
Sen. Tim Kaine (D) said 1,908,000 Virginia residents or about 23% of Virginians are eligible for the discounted rates, according to a Tuesday, May 10 news release. It’s not immediately clear how many Prince William County residents will be eligible.
The Affordable Connectivity Program is already up and running. The program is expected to cost $14.2 billion. The goal is to support eligible households struggling to afford monthly internet service so they have the connections they need for work, school, healthcare and more, according to the Federal Communications Commission website.
Residents can see if they qualify and apply now at GetInternet.gov.
Who is eligible?
A household can also qualify for the Affordable Connectivity Program if a member of the household meets at least one of the following criteria:
- Participates in SNAP, Medicaid, Federal Public Housing Assistance, SSI, WIC, or Lifeline;
- Eligible to participate in the National School Lunch Program or the School Breakfast Program, including through the USDA Community Eligibility Provision;
- Received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year; or
- Participates in Tribal specific programs, such as Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance, Tribal TANF, or Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations.
Learn more at https://www.fcc.gov/acp.