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Gov. Evers, PSC urges customers to apply for Affordable Connectivity program

(WDBJ)
Published: Jan. 24, 2022 at 2:46 PM CST
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - Wisconsin households struggling to pay for internet service can apply for a monthly discount.

The program is offered through the Federal Communications Commission. It provides a discount of up to $30 per month toward internet service for eligible households and up to $75 per month for homes on qualifying Tribal lands. The number of people in Wisconsin eligible to enroll is about 1,580,000 people or 650,000 households. 

“We know that the digital divide in our state is holding our communities back, as high-speed internet is no longer a luxury but a necessity to learn, work, and access critical resources in our state and country today,” said Gov. Evers.

On Nov. 15, 2021, President Biden signed into law a $1 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act that provided $14.2 billion in permanent funding for ACP. As a result, the EBB Program was transitioned to the ACP on Dec. 31, 2021. Current EBB recipients fully enrolled as of Dec. 31, 2021, will automatically continue to receive their monthly benefit until March 1, 2022.

Participating broadband providers receive the money directly from the program for providing service to an eligible household, and customers will see the discount applied to their bills. In addition, eligible households can also receive a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from participating providers if they contribute more than $10 and less than $50 toward the purchase price.

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 percent of the federal poverty guidelines; or
  • 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.

Broadband providers are not required to participate in the ACP. Eligible households can enroll by visiting https://acpbenefit.org/ or by contacting participating broadband providers.

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