Low-Cost Internet for Veterans: Affordable Connectivity Program
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) offers Veterans low-cost internet access through their Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). This program aims to deliver fast, reliable internet service to veterans who are struggling financially.
The Affordable Connectivity Program
The FCC’s program grants a discount of up to $30/month for broadband service. Additionally, there is a special discount for households on qualifying Tribal lands of up to $75 per month for use towards paying for broadband internet.
The Affordable Connectivity Program grants a one-time discount of up to $100 to qualifying households for the purchase of a laptop, desktop computer, or a tablet. These devices must be purchased through participating providers.
Furthermore, the FCC’s program has partnered with 20 leading internet service providers who will offer ACP participants high-speed internet plans for $30 per month or less. This means that some households may be able to get broadband internet for free.
Affordable Connectivity Program Eligibility
By some estimates, there are about 2.5 million Veterans eligible to participate in the ACP. To participate, a household must meet at least one of the following criteria:
- Has an income that is at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines
- Participates in certain assistance programs, such as,
- Veterans pension
- Survivor benefit
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
- Federal Public Housing Assistance
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)
- Participates in Tribal specific programs, such as,
- Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance
- Tribal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
- Food distribution programs on Indian Reservations
- Receives benefits under the free and reduced-price school lunch program or the school breakfast program, which includes participation through the USDA Community Eligibility Provision
- Received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year
- Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating broadband carrier’s existing low-income program
To check or verify your household’s eligibility, head over to the ACP Benefit page to submit an application. You can also go to the White House’s Get Internet website and sign up for the FCC’s Affordable Connectivity Program.
To find participating internet service providers near you, check out the Affordable Connectivity Program Providers page. You can search by state or territory, and you can see which providers offer that $100 discount on connected devices.
VA Programs Keeping Veterans Connected
In addition to the FCC ACP benefit, the VA also has a number of programs that allow Veterans to connect to the internet. Some prominent programs are:
- VA Internet-Connected Devices: The VA has a program that lends an internet connected tablet to veterans who don’t have access to the internet. The intent is to facilitate access to VA Telehealth appointments.
- VA Telehealth Connectivity Support: a program where mobile carriers help Veterans avoid data charges when using VA Video Connect on their networks.
- ATLAS: The Accessing Telehealth through Local Area Stations (ATLAS) is a pilot program that provides telehealth access in the Veterans’ communities. Using private spaces equipped with internet access, Veterans can attend their telehealth appointments without needing their own device or traveling to a VA clinic.
- VA Telehealth is a program that allows veterans to access their healthcare team whenever it is necessary.
VA’s Digital Divide Consult
To discover your connectivity options, the VA recommends participating in a Digital Divide Consult. With this program, a VA social worker can assist in determining which programs you may be eligible for, like the Affordable Connectivity Program. The goal of these consultations is to give every veteran the internet and technology they need for using the VA telehealth program.
If you or a Veteran you know does not have reliable access to the internet, then please take advantage of these connectivity programs.
Not only are they low or no-cost programs, but the whole purpose behind them is to connect Veterans to the healthcare they’ve earned through their service. Save money and get connected today!
- News, Magazine and Cable Military Discounts for Military and Veterans
- Services Military Discounts
- Wireless & Internet Military Discounts
About the author
Robert Haynes is a retired Army infantryman who has a squad of kids and is married to an active duty Soldier. He is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom, who spent his last few years in the Army as a Drill Sergeant. He is now a full-time dad, freelance writer, and out-of-work comedian.