ACP Ending Soon: Prepare for the Affordable Connectivity Program’s Conclusion

Since its inception in 2021, the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) has been a lifeline for millions, ensuring continued internet access. However, ACP is ending soon, with its funding projected to be exhausted by April 2024.  

ACP played a crucial role during the pandemic, supporting remote work, education, and healthcare by reinforcing that internet access is as essential as electricity or water.  

In this blog, we’re diving into the reasons behind ACP’s closure, essential information for current ACP users, and ACP alternatives. 

Understanding the ACP’s Impact 

The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), initiated in response to the connectivity challenges heightened by the COVID-19 pandemic, has played a crucial role in enhancing internet access affordability. Launched in 2021, ACP has been a cornerstone in narrowing the digital divide, impacting over 20 million households nationwide. 

Under the ACP, eligible households receive a $30 monthly internet subsidy, with an increased amount of $75 for residents in Tribal lands and other high-cost areas. This initiative also helps individuals near the poverty line or those enrolled in federal aid programs such as Medicaid and SNAP. 

In California alone, the ACP’s influence has been significant, with approximately $1.3 billion in funding allocated to the state.  

Why is ACP Ending? 

The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) was initially envisioned as a temporary initiative. Now, the program is approaching its end, primarily due to the depletion of its allocated funds. This development was recently confirmed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which oversees the ACP. 

In December 2023, Republican lawmakers, including Senators John Thune and Ted Cruz, expressed concerns to the FCC about the management of the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). They questioned the program’s efficiency, urging a reevaluation of its impact and efficiency. 

But in January 2024, a bipartisan, bicameral group of lawmakers, including Senators Welch, Vance, Rosen, Cramer, and Representatives Clarke and Fitzpatrick, introduced the Affordable Connectivity Program Extension Act. This bill proposes $7 billion to continue the ACP, emphasizing its role in providing affordable high-speed internet to qualifying U.S. households. It highlights the program’s impact on demographics, such as veterans, students, and seniors, emphasizing internet access as a necessity. Many organizations support the legislation. 

What ACP Ending Soon Means for Subscribers 

If you’re currently benefiting from the ACP, what happens next?   

Here’s what you need to know: 

  • The final application deadline to enroll in the ACP is February 7, 2024, at 11:59 PM Eastern Time. Make sure you’re both approved and enrolled with an internet provider by this date. After this deadline, no new enrollments will be accepted. 
  • The ACP is expected to run out of funds around April 2024. This is an estimate and could change.  
  • If you enrolled before the February 7 deadline, you’ll keep getting your ACP benefits until the funds are exhausted. 
  • When the ACP money runs out, the discounts you’ve been getting on your internet bill will stop. 

Once the ACP ends, you’ll lose the monthly internet discount. Here’s what you can do: 

  • Help urge Congress to continue funding by contacting your local House Representative and Senator.  
  • Talk to your internet provider about how this change affects your bill and ask about other affordable plans. 
  • Check out for more information and updates about your ACP benefits. 
  • Call the ACP Support Center at 877-384-2575 for help. 
  • File complaints about ACP billing or service issues at the FCC’s Consumer Complaint Center. 

Are There Any ACP Alternatives? 

With ACP ending soon, let’s look at ACP alternatives that can help keep internet access affordable. While these might not fully replace the ACP, they’re worth considering. 

The Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program 

The Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program, funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, allocates $42.45 billion to enhance high-speed internet access across the U.S., including territories. 

This comprehensive federal grant program aims to connect all Americans to the internet by fostering partnerships for building necessary infrastructure and boosting adoption rates.  

BEAD focuses on expanding internet in: 

  • unserved areas (lacking access or having access below 25/3 Mbps)  
  • underserved areas (with access below 100/20 Mbps) 

The Biden-Harris Administration recently announced a substantial investment in the BEAD program, allocating over $74.4 million in grants to Tribal lands. This funding is part of the Internet for All initiative. 

The Lifeline Program 

Run by the FCC, Lifeline helps make phone and internet services more affordable. It’s a longstanding program that’s been aiding low-income households.  

It offers up to $9.25 off monthly costs for phone, internet, or bundled services. For those living on qualifying Tribal Lands, the discount increases to $34.25. 

There are two ways to qualify for Lifeline: 

  • Enrollment in public assistance programs like Medicaid, SNAP, LIHEAP, SSI, etc. 
  • Household income must be at or below specific limits, based on household size. 

To qualify based on income, your household’s total annual gross income must be within certain limits.  

For example, for a Californian household of 1-2 people, the income limit is $32,500. As the household size increases, so does the income limit. For a household of 3, it’s $37,700; for a household of 4, it’s $45,900. Each additional member adds $8,200 to the limit. 

Documentation is required to prove that your household income meets these criteria. This income includes all taxable and non-taxable earnings before taxes from all household members. 

For more specific details on the program and how to apply, visit the California LifeLine website. 

Conclusive Thoughts on ACP Ending Soon 

As the ACP ends, we see just how much it’s helped and what we’ll miss. The end of ACP marks a big shift, so knowing what to do next is key.  

If you’re currently on an ACP plan, take the necessary steps to prepare for the transition. Call your Internet Service Provider to see how it affects your bills. You can also explore the alternatives we’ve discussed, like the BEAD program and Lifeline, to maintain your internet access.  

Staying connected is more important than ever. Let’s navigate these changes together so every household remains prepared for the digital age.