ACP Enrollments Are Closed—Here Are Other Ways To Get Affordable Internet

Worried about losing your ACP credit? Here are other ways to get affordable internet, plus answers to important questions about the federal program.

Peter Holslin
Feb 21, 2024
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Launched in 2021, the Affordable Connectivity Program has helped 23 million American households get access to broadband internet. The Federal Communications Commission runs this government program, and it provides a monthly subsidy of $30 or $75 for qualifying enrollees to cover their internet bills, slashing their home Wi-Fi expenses down to $0.00 in some cases.

With federal funding for the program running out, the ACP stopped accepting applications on Feb. 7, 2024. Current ACP enrollees are still getting their monthly discount, but nobody new can sign up. The federal program is projected to come to a halt entirely by the end of April unless Congress approves more money to keep the ACP going.

Are you in a panic about what this means for your home internet costs? Don’t worry! Take a look at our guide below to learn what this means for ACP enrollees and find other ways to get reliable, low-cost internet.

Looking for affordable internet? Run a search with your zip code to see the internet options available in your area.

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Find low-cost internet options where you live!

The Affordable Connectivity Program: What you need to know

Can I no longer apply for ACP?

Unfortunately, no. Enrollments for the Affordable Connectivity Program are now closed.

Can I apply for ACP in the future?

Possibly. Funding for the ACP is expected to run out in April, and the FCC is now “taking steps to wind down” the program, as announced in a recent fact sheet. But Congress can vote to approve more funding to keep the program running.

What will happen if ACP ends?

If Congress doesn’t approve funds to keep the ACP running, current enrollees will see their monthly internet bills go up. “After the ACP ends, you will no longer get the monthly internet discount,” the FCC says. Contact your internet provider to get more details on how the end of the program could affect your service and billing.

What can I do to make sure the ACP keeps running?

Want to keep the ACP alive? Call your Congressional representative and tell them to support the Affordable Connectivity Program Extension Act, a bipartisan bill that will give the program $7 billion in short-term funding from the Treasury Department.

“Access to high-speed internet isn’t a luxury anymore, it’s a necessity,” Vermont Senator Peter Welch, one of the bill’s co-sponsors, said in a press release. “That’s why it’s never been so important to avoid this funding cliff and extend the ACP.”

How likely is it that ACP will actually come to an end in April?

It’s unclear, but it is very possible that the program could be saved. The bill to keep funding the program has support from both Democrats and Republicans.

Sympathetic internet executives have also voiced enthusiasm about keeping it going. As Google Fiber recently put it, ”access to ACP is the difference between a family choosing to sign up for the internet or having no access at all.”

What other low-income programs can I apply to for affordable internet?

Even without an ACP waiver, you still have plenty of options to get affordable broadband internet. The government offers several other programs for qualifying households, and many internet providers also have low-cost plans designed for students, low-income families, and other folks on a budget.

See the table below for the top recommendations—and read our guide to low-income internet assistance for more.

Best programs for low-cost internet

Program
Benefit
Who qualifies
More info
FCC Lifeline discountUp to $9.25/mo. discount on qualifying mobile and internet plansHouseholds with income that falls 135% below federal poverty guidelines, or users who qualify for select government assistance programs
FCC Enhanced Lifeline benefits for Tribal landsUp to $34.25/mo. discount on qualifying mobile and internet plansHouseholds and users on Tribal lands with income that falls 135% below federal poverty guidelines, or who qualify for select government or Tribal assistance programs
Spectrum Internet Assist 50Mbps internet plan for $24.99/mo. New Spectrum customers with at least one person in the household who qualifies for select public assistance programs
AT&T Access Program10Mbps internet plan for $5.00–$10.00/mo.New AT&T customers with at least one person in the household who participates in SNAP
Xfinity Internet EssentialsUp to 50Mbps internet plan for $9.95/mo.New Xfinity customers eligible for qualifying public assistance programs
Cox Connect2CompeteUp to 50Mbps internet plan for $30.00/mo.Households that qualify for government assistance programs (including SNAP and Medicaid)

If I don’t qualify for government assistance, are there other ways to lower my internet costs?

Yes, there are a lot of ways you can lower the cost of your bill. You can downgrade your internet plan, invest in your own equipment, look for promotions and deals, or try out an affordable internet option like 5G home internet. See our list below on ways to save.

How to lower your internet bill

  • Get a slower internet plan. You don’t need the fastest Wi-Fi possible to get a reliable connection, and downgrading your internet plan is an easy way to save money.
  • Buy your own modem and router. Investing in your own modem and router means you can skip out on monthly rental fees from your provider, which add up over time.
  • Try 5G home internet. Verizon and T-Mobile both offer cellular-based 5G home internet plans that get you solid internet at a cheap price, with unlimited data and no extra fees.
  • Move to fiber internet. Fiber internet is not only the fastest internet you can get, it can also be the most affordable Wi-Fi option, with basic plans often costing less than cable or DSL.
  • Sign up for a mobile and internet bundle. Bundling your internet with a mobile phone plan from the same provider can get you a monthly discount and other perks.
  • Look for promotions and deals. As a new customer, you can find promotions like VISA gift cards and free streaming trials to incentivize signing up.

Why did my internet bill suddenly go up? Is it because I no longer have ACP?

It’s not likely that your internet bill went up because of the ACP. Although the program is no longer accepting new enrollments, current ACP enrollees are still eligible to get ACP’s monthly discount at least until the end of April—and possibly longer if Congress approves more funding.

If your internet is suddenly more expensive, it’s more likely because of one of the reasons listed below.

Reasons for seeing a sudden increase in your bill

  • Your internet provider has raised its prices
  • The 12- or 24-month promotional pricing on your internet plan has expired
  • You exceeded your data cap last month, leading to overage charges
  • You canceled your internet before the contract is up, leading to termination fees

Contact customer service to get more details about your billing—and consider negotiating or switching to a new provider if you’re not happy with how much you’re paying.

Shop around to find affordable internet in your area

If you’re on the lookout for affordable internet options, you can always run a search with your zip code to see what internet providers are available in your area. From there، you can compare prices and find other ways to save. Use our zip check tool to search for cheap Wi-Fi below.

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Search your zip code to see if affordable internet is available where you live.
Peter Holslin
Written by
Peter Holslin
Peter is a journalist and editor who has been covering tech, culture, and music since the late 2000s. Prior to joining the Reviews.org team, he was the senior staff writer at HighSpeedInternet.com, where he covered 5G, mobile hotspots, and internet services. As a freelancer, he’s also written for Rolling Stone, VICE, BuzzFeed, Pitchfork, LA Weekly, and many other publications. He studied writing and journalism at The New School University in New York City and got his start in the media industry as the music editor of the California alt-weekly San Diego CityBeat. He’s also a musician and DJ and owns too many vinyl records for his own good.

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