For many people, a secure and fast connection is crucial to meet work, school or healthcare needs. However, 19 million people in the country don’t have broadband internet with baseline speeds, according to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
But help is available: Colorado families might qualify for access to free internet as part of the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) offered by the FCC.
The benefit provides a discount of up to $30 per month toward home internet service for eligible households and up to $75 per month for households on qualifying Tribal lands. Currently, the majority of people supported by the ACP come from households earning less than $30,000 a year.
Who qualifies for ACP?
There are multiple ways to qualify for ACP, including:
•Households with an income level of approximately $55,000 a year for a family of four or $27,000 a year for an individual.
•Those receiving SNAP/EBT, Medicaid or free and reduced-price school lunch.
•Anyone receiving other federal assistance benefits.
What can the $30 benefit be used for?
Residents can choose the best way to distribute their ACP benefit. Some popular approaches include:
•High-speed internet: Many broadband providers, such as Xfinity, participate in ACP and also provide low-cost internet options. For example, ACP completely covers Xfinity’s Internet Essentials Plus program, which offers fast download speeds of up to 100 MBPS, in addition to a free cable modem and Wi-Fi router. This ensures smooth video calls when working remotely and access to gaming, along with music and video streaming.
•Internet and one line of mobile: Those with flexibility and a need to pay for a mobile phone line, can stretch the $30 credit to cover all except $25 of Xfinity’s Standard Internet Essentials and one line with unlimited data on Xfinity Mobile. Since Xfinity’s Standard Internet Essentials is about $10 a month, the ACP credit can apply to a mobile line of unlimited data at $45 a month, which would leave a monthly total cost at roughly $25.
Check with your internet provider to see what options are available through the ACP benefit.
Why sign up?
Having reliable and fast internet is critical to being connected and thriving. But getting started can feel challenging. One local organization, Spark the Change Colorado, is helping reduce barriers for people to access critical services like internet.
Vivian, a volunteer with Spark the Change’s Senior Companion Program in Denver, Colo., is using her experience accessing internet through ACP to help others sign up for their own service. Reflecting back, she noted, “The entire process is a bit daunting to do alone, especially if you have never had internet or seen the equipment.” Vivian called her provider, Xfinity, to walk her through the set-up process until it was working. She noted, “I do enjoy the service and am happy to help others.”
In Colorado, 560,000 low-income residents in 140,000 homes have connected to the internet through Xfinity’s Internet Essentials program since 2011. Some of the top cities utilizing the Internet Essentials program include Denver, Aurora, Colorado Springs, Pueblo and Greeley.
Whether using the internet for work, pursuing an online degree or simply staying connected with family and friends, internet access is a key piece to ensuring all Coloradans have the resources and opportunities to pursue their goals and grow relationships.
What’s the best way to sign up for ACP?
Getting started is quick and easy. First, visit the National Verifier website to check eligibility for ACP and get a National Verifier ID. Once an ID is secured, sign up for ACP with your internet provider. Below are three quick and easy ways to sign up for ACP with Comcast:
1.Sign up online as a new or existing Internet Essentials customer with Xfinity.
2.Call your internet provider to sign up for service. If you’re enrolling with Comcast, you can call 1-844-963-0231 and speak with their ACP Enrollment and Support Center, which includes multi-lingual capabilities to assist anyone who is interested in the program.
3.Visit a local store in your area to learn more about how to enroll in ACP to get free internet service.
Building connections with others and the community is just a quick step away. Learn more about the ACP and how Xfinity can help access free internet help.