Even after Affordable Connectivity Program funding has ended, there are still some options for internet and phone bill help

21 June 2024- In light of the recent ending of the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) due to a lack of federal funding, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) today encourages Pennsylvanians to research other assistance options, in addition to reaching out to their internet service providers. The ACP provided eligible customers with a $30 per month discount on their internet access service and a one-time $100 credit towards a device purchase.

According to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), funding for the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) has officially ended. The PUC is encouraging households who were receiving the ACP benefit to research other assistance programs available to help with broadband assistance, including the Lifeline program, which provides consumers up to $9.25 off the cost of phone or internet. Households are also encouraged to consult their internet company directly to learn more about other assistance programs.

Lifeline Program Benefits

Up to $9.25 Per Household, Per Month Discount

Lifeline is a federal program that provides a $5.25 per household, per month discount on your qualifying landline or wireless standalone voice service or a $9.25 per household, per month discount on your qualifying wireless or landline internet service or qualifying bundled telephone/internet service product from a landline or wireless provider. The discount appears in the form of a reduction to the bill you pay your service provider.

The benefit can be used for voice (telephone), Broadband Internet Access Service (or BIAS, usually called internet service), or a combined telephone/internet service product from a landline or wireless provider.

A consumer qualifies for Lifeline if they are at or below 135% of the federal poverty guidelines or participate in specific federal programs, including: Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Veterans’ Pension and Survivor Benefit, Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA), and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). More information on program eligibility, how to apply and recertify is available on the Commission’s website on the USAC website.

Affordable Connectivity Program Impact

The ACP was a successful broadband affordability program that was funded by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) enacted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The ACP was successful both nationally and in Pennsylvania by providing and maintaining access to the internet for more than 23 million low-income households nationwide, including more than 600,000 homes in Pennsylvania.