Where to get help with your internet bill

Where to get help with your internet bill

Wi-Fi powers the modern home, whether it’s for work, school, entertainment, or smart home devices, and it doesn’t come cheap. According to Move.org, the average Internet bill is $59.99 a month.

If the cost of staying connected is straining your budget, you may qualify for government help with your Internet bill through the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). Read on to find out how the program works, who is eligible, and how to apply. If you’re not eligible, you can also use some of the tips below to keep your internet costs in check.

How the Affordable Connectivity program can help with your internet bills

The ACP, enacted under the Biden administration, was designed to help low-income families afford the broadband services they need for school, work, health care and everyday life. The program offers a discount on your monthly Internet bills and helps you purchase a device, such as a computer or tablet.

What is the full form of ACP benefits?

Eligible households receive up to $30 monthly discount on Internet services. Eligible households on tribal land receive up to $75.

You can also get a one-time discount of up to $100 on the purchase of a laptop, desktop or tablet from a participating seller through the program.

Is the ACP legit?

If the ACP sounds too good to be true, good news: it’s legit. The ACP is a federally funded program formed as part of the bipartisan Infrastructure Act. It is administered by the Universal Administrative Services Company (USAC), with the FCC overseeing USAC.

ACP eligibility

How do you qualify for President Biden’s Internet Plan? You are eligible for the program if your family meets one of the following criteria:

  • Below 200% of the poverty line
  • Eligible for programs such as SNAP, Medicaid, free or reduced school lunches, SSI, public housing, WIC, or Lifeline
  • Received a Pell grant

ACP Service Provider Participants

Not all ISPs participate in the ACP. You can visit the Affordable Connectivity government website to search for participating providers in your area. Some providers who may offer help with your Internet bill, depending on where you live, include:

There are dozens of Internet Service Providers participating in the ACP.

ACP Support Request

You can request ACP assistance on the government’s Affordable Connectivity website, by mail, or through your Internet provider if you are a program participant. You’ll need to provide identifying information, such as your Social Security number, address, and contact information to get started.

Once your application has been accepted, you can select an Internet plan and apply the ACP discount.

Tips to reduce the cost of the Internet

Whether or not you are eligible for ACP assistance, the following tips can help you reduce the cost of your Internet bill.

1. Invest in a router and modem

Major Internet providers charge between $10 and $15 a month in equipment rental fees. That’s $120-$180 a year for a modem and router that you have to pay back when you end your service.

You can save money in the long run with an investment in your own modem/router combo, you won’t need it anymore. You can buy a modem/router combo for as little as $99 to $129, which will pay for itself before the first year of your Internet contract is up, even at the low end of typical equipment rental rates.

2. Lower your speed

Your service provider will use lightning bolt language and blazing speed to get you to buy a faster and more expensive plan.

According to Toms Guide, 50-100Mbps is enough for three to five devices engaged in online gaming and 4K streaming, as well as standard web browsing, social networking, email and video streaming. If five or more devices are doing all of that plus sharing large files and streaming live video, you’ll still be fine with just 150-200Mbps.

BroadbandNow confirms that internet speeds in the 100-200Mbps range are ideal for most households. If you’re paying more, try downgrading your plan, you can always upgrade again if your connection gets slow.

3. Ditch your unlimited mobile data plan

If you’re one of the millions of Americans now working remotely full-time or just occasionally, you can indirectly reduce your Wi-Fi costs by downgrading your mobile data plan and letting your home Wi-Fi do the heavy lifting.

According to How-to Geek, most people use less than 6GB of data a month and simply don’t need the expensive unlimited plans offered by all major carriers. You may want to consider ditching your primary carrier altogether and opting for an alternative provider. Mint Mobile, for example, offers 4GB of data across the T-Mobile network for $15 a month if you pay up a year upfront.

4. Shop around and negotiate terms of service

According to BroadbandNow, most cable companies will offer you a better monthly price if you call and ask about it. The effort will likely require several phone calls, a lot of patience, and a lot of courtesy. But if what you’re asking is reasonable, you’re legitimately willing to cancel your service, and you eat or are near the end of your contract, the back-and-forth will likely end with the company lowering your bill to keep you as a customer.

Take away

Internet service is becoming almost as essential as electricity or water in many households. If you think your family may be eligible for ACP assistance, find out today if you can get financial help with your Internet bill.

Then see if any of the tips above can help you cut costs even further. Just be sure to do your homework before using them to make sure they fit your situation. For example, buying a modem or router would be a waste of money if your Internet provider doesn’t charge extra for the equipment. And if your job requires a high-speed Internet connection, downgrading to a lower floor probably isn’t a good idea.

Andrew Lisa contributed to the writing of this article.

The information is up-to-date as of June 2, 2023.

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