HAPCAP Announces New Affordable Connectivity Program

New initiative will help low-income residents to pay internet bills

GLOUSTER – Hocking Athens Perry Community Action is excited to announce that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is launching a new program to help make access to broadband internet affordable. The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) will replace the Emergency Broadband Benefit launched as a result of the pandemic. Funded as part of the infrastructure package passed by Congress in late 2021, the ACP offers

  • a $30 a month discount for your internet service.
  • A one-time discount of up to $100 for a laptop, tablet, or desktop computer (with a co-payment of more than $10 but less than $50)

The benefit is limited to one monthly service discount and one device discount per household.

Households can sign up for this program beginning on January 1, 2022. If you need help signing up in person, you can go to any branch of the Athens County Library and their staff can provide assistance. You can find your nearest branch at https://www.myacpl.org/

A full list of participating providers is available from the FCC at https://www.fcc.gov/affordable-connectivity-program-providers. As of now, the current providers are: Spectrum, Frontier, Nelsonville TV Cable, Hughes Net, AT&T, Verizon, Windstream, & Point Broadband.

Eligibility: A household is eligible if a member of the household meets at least one of the criteria below:

  • Has an income that is at or below 200% of the federal poverty guidelines;
  • Participates in certain assistance programs, such as SNAP, Medicaid, Federal Public Housing Assistance, SSI, WIC, or Lifeline;
  • Participates in Tribal specific programs, such as 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, including through the USDA Community Eligibility Provision in the 2019-2020, 2020-2021, or 2021-2022 school year;
  • Received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year; or
  • Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating provider’s existing low-income program.

More information on the ACP can be found at the following website – https://acpbenefit.org/

Emergency Broadband Benefit Recipients: If your household already receives the Emergency Broadband Benefit, which provides a $50 subsidy towards the cost of an internet subscription, you will continue to receive that benefit at that amount until March 1, 2022. The FCC will provide more information about how to transition to the new Affordable Connectivity Program in the coming weeks. It is important to note that the new program provides a lower discount. Updated information about how to transition to the new program will be provided as it becomes available.

HACAP and Broadband Affordability: Over the course of the past year, HAPCAP has played a leading role on broadband issues for Athens County and the region. Under the guidance of Athens County Broadband Coordinator, Paul Isherwood, HAPCAP is working to ensure access to reliable and affordable broadband internet connections for all residents of Athens County. “By transitioning from the temporary Emergency Broadband Benefit, to this more long-term program, the FCC is recognizing that the importance of affordable access to an internet connection goes beyond the pandemic and is crucial for the economic well-being of all American households,” Isherwood remarked.

If you have any questions please contact Paul Isherwood, the Athens County Broadband Coordinator at 740-767-1072 or email at paul.isherwood@hapcap.org For information on all other HAPCAP’s programs, please contact Valerie Keeney at valeire.keeney@hapcap.org, or (740) 767-4500.