December 3, 2021

New Federal Program to Help Pay for Broadband Internet

During the pandemic, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) created the Emergency Broadband Benefit to assist low-income Americans in paying for the internet. This benefit helped thousands work or actively participate in their education while stay-at-home orders were in place in most states. The financial benefit was created to assist Americans during the pandemic; Congress recently completed legislation for a $14 billion program to replace the pandemic assistance for broadband internet. The new Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) results from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act passed on November 15, 2021.  

The ACP is in the pre-implementation stage, but Americans can still apply for the emergency broadband benefit while the program goes through its required comment period. After the comment period, the program will be rapidly implemented, and applications will be accepted. Everyone is welcome to review and comment on proposed program details. The public notice is found online at 

The changes from Emergency Broadband Benefit to the ACP, per the FCC, are:  

  1. The maximum monthly benefit will change from $50 to $30 per month for households not located on qualifying tribal lands. The monthly benefit will remain at $75 per month for households on qualifying tribal lands.  
  2. Households have new ways to qualify for the ACP such as: receiving WIC benefits or having an income at or below 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.  
  3. Households that qualified for the Emergency Broadband Benefit due to a substantial loss of income due to job loss or furlough since February 29, 2020 or by meeting the eligibility criteria for a participating provider's COVID-19 program will need to requalify for the Affordable Connectivity Program. 

The SUNY Empire Basic Needs Program will continue to monitor the roll-out of this program and continue to provide updates to students through the newsletter and emails. If you have questions regarding other basic needs, reach out to the basic needs program at 


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