Affordable internet fosters economic mobility through the provision of equal opportunities in education, employment, and entrepreneurship. That is why Congress introduced the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) in 2021 to help struggling households afford a reliable internet connection.

Since then, the federal government has partnered with numerous internet providers to make the internet more accessible. Some providers have gone the extra mile to introduce exclusive plans for qualifying households, becoming the best ACP internet providers. Read on to learn more about these ACP providers and their special plans.

Top 10 ACP Home Internet Providers

The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) provides a specific discount (usually $30, but qualifying individuals living on Tribal Lands receive $75 per month) to low-income families that can be applied to any plan of its partnering internet providers.

While this discount makes their internet plans reasonable, many top-tier ACP internet providers offer one or two high-speed internet plans that cost $30 or less per month with usually no additional charges, so participating households can enjoy free internet.

However, this alone does not make such ACP providers the best in the market. The best providers deliver inclusive plans, broad coverage, exceptional customer service, and transparency.

Here are the top 10 ACP internet providers that contribute meaningfully to closing the digital divide and providing essential internet access to underserved communities.

Speeds Up to 100 Mbps

ACP Plans:

$0.00/mo.

$29.99/mo

att-logo

Speeds Up to 100 Mbps

ACP Plans:

  • Access from AT&T

$0.00/mo.

$30.00/mo

frontier logo

Speeds Up to 100 Mbps

ACP Plans:

  • Essentials Internet
  • Fiber 100

$0.00/mo.

$30.00/mo

Speeds Up to 100 Mbps

ACP Plans:

  • Internet Essentials
  • Internet Essentials Plus

$0.00/mo.

$29.95/mo

Speeds Up to 300 Mbps

ACP Plans:

  • 300 Mbps

$0.00/mo.

$24.99/mo

fidium fiber internet

Speeds Up to 100 Mbps

$0.00/mo.

$25.00/mo

Speeds Up to 100 Mbps

$9.99/mo.

$39.00/mo

Speeds Up to 25 Mbps

$19.99/mo.

$49.00/mo

Speeds Up to 15 Mbps

$19.99/mo.

$49.00/mo

Speeds Up to 100 Mbps

$29.95/mo.

$59.00/mo

ACP Internet Providers Near Me

There are many internet providers in the country but not every company is a part of the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC’s) Affordable Connectivity Program.

You can use our advanced search tool to streamline your options and look for the most suitable ACP internet provider in your zip code.  

Who is the Best ACP Provider?

More than 20 leading internet providers participate in the ACP, connecting over 20 million households to the world. However, certain metrics such as service availability, network reliability, industry reputation, and exclusivity of low-income plans make certain ACP providers more prominent than others.

Evaluation Criteria for the 5 Best ACP Internet Providers 
Providers  ACP Plans  Availability  Customer Rating
Max. Speed  Min. Price 
AT&T 100 Mbps  $0.00/mo.  22 states  3.75/ 5 stars 
Kinetic 500 Mbps  $9.99/mo.  18 states  3.65/ 5 stars
Verizon Fios 300 Mbps  $0.00/mo.  9 states  3.61/ 5 stars 
Spectrum 100 Mbps  $0.00/mo.  41 states  3.56/ 5 stars 
Frontier 100 Mbps  $0.00/mo.  29 states  3.30/ 5 stars 

Best ACP Internet Provider for Price

AT&T is the only top-ranking ACP internet provider that offers its 100 Mbps internet plan for free for the entire service tenure. Unlike other ACP internet providers, it does not offer its exclusive low-income broadband plan (Access from AT&T) at promotional rates.

Therefore, the consumers continue to receive free internet service even after 12, 24, or 36 months from enrollment. However, they must bear the add-on costs such as taxes and surcharges.

Please note that AT&T’s ACP plan includes a free installation and whole-home Wi-Fi coverage.  

Best ACP Internet Provider for Speed 

Among the top 5 ACP Internet providers, only Verizon Fios offers up to 300 Mbps of symmetrical upload and download speeds for $0 per month. With the Kinetic ACP offer, you can get starting speeds of 500 Mbps.

However, you will still be required to pay $9.99 each month (which includes your equipment rental). The remaining high-ranking ACP internet providers offer up to 100 Mbps of download speeds in their zero-cost internet offerings. 

Best ACP Internet Provider for Coverage 

Unfortunately, AT&T’s free internet service is limited to just 22 states of the USA. This is when we pass the torch to Spectrum and let it illuminate the bridge of connectivity.

Out of all the top-rated ACP internet providers in the country, Spectrum is the one that offers free and discounted internet plans in 41 states, or 82% of the USA. The wide availability of Spectrum ACP plans makes it the best ACP internet provider for coverage. 

Best ACP Internet Provider for Network Reliability 

Without a doubt, Frontier is the best ACP internet provider for network reliability. Its superfast fiber internet service promises 99.9% network uptime and minimal speed fluctuations during peak hours.

Moreover, its DSL internet service has been a household name in rural areas of America for decades. You can get up to 100Mbps of equal download and upload speeds for free for the first 12 months. 

Best ACP Internet Provider for Customer Service 

Kinetic by Windstream tops the list for best customer satisfaction in the non-fiber ACP internet providers category. In the American Customer Satisfaction Index for 2023, Kinetic scored 70 out of 100 points, which is 4 points higher than the industry average.

Even though Kinetic does not offer free internet to its ACP subscribers, it makes amends by upgrading the starting speeds to 500 Mbps and providing world-class customer service.

In contrast, AT&T Fiber’s customer ratings are better and it does have a free ACP internet plan, but its fiber-optic broadband network is limited to urban centers, unlike Kinetic’s hybrid fiber-DSL internet service. 

How to Switch ACP Providers?

There are many reasons for switching internet service providers (ISPs). You don’t have to lose your ACP benefit just because you are moving to a new location and your current ISP does not serve that area.

You can follow these few simple steps to transfer your ACP credits to a new internet provider of your choice. 

  • Look for a suitable ACP internet provider in your area by using our zip code tool provided above. You can also use the online tool available on the Universal Service Administrative Company page for more options. 
  • Once you have found your preferred provider, services, and plans, you can contact the prospective provider to transfer your ACP credits to the new account. 
  • Please note that you will be asked to provide your approved National Verifier ACP application ID along with your personal details such as:
  • Your full name 
  • Date of birth 
  • Home address
  • Contact number 

And your verbal or written consent to proceed with the switching and transfer of benefits. 

Keep in mind that only one eligible person per household will receive the transferred ACP benefits once a month and you may need to re-apply for the program before switching ACP providers.

Moreover, if you have already received a discounted device, you will not be eligible for a new one.

What is the Affordable Connectivity Program?

The Affordable Connectivity Program, or ACP for short, is the successor to the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB), which provided affordable internet access during the pandemic.

Launched by Congress in late 2021 under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal with an investment of $14.2 billion, the ACP is a long-term affordable broadband initiative designed to promote internet access throughout the country.

This Federal Communications Commission (FCC) program provides a $30 monthly discount on internet service and a one-time device discount of up to $100. The ACP benefit is higher for people living in qualified Tribal Lands, giving them a broadband discount of up to $75 per month.

To promote digital inclusion, the FCC has partnered with thousands of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to deliver affordable internet connections to eligible households. Currently, there are more than a thousand ACP internet providers, and among them, over 20 ACP providers have launched at least one or two exclusive internet plans below $30 to bridge the digital divide.

ACP Benefits

The ACP program offers numerous benefits to impoverished households. It enables them to access high-speed internet plans at a lower cost, so they don’t have to settle for inadequate speed tiers.

Additionally, ACP participants can purchase a device of their choice, such as a smartphone, tablet, or computer, at a discount of up to $100. The FCC aims to bridge the digital divide through this one-time device discount, providing struggling households with the necessary tools to participate in the contemporary world.

FCC also acknowledges the economic hardships faced by communities living in Tribal Lands and therefore offers a higher monthly ACP discount of up to $75 on their internet service. The ACP ensures that financial constraints do not hinder anyone’s right to access equal connectivity resources.

How Does the ACP Program Work?

There are three simple steps to enjoy the ACP benefits. Here is how the program generally works.

Check Your Eligibility

Low-income households interested in the ACP should first make sure they qualify. The eligibility for ACP is based on various factors such as household income, participation in certain government assistance programs, or residence in Tribal Lands.

To verify eligibility, you can refer to the program guidelines provided by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) or the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC).

Compile the Required Documents

After confirming your eligibility, you should gather all the papers needed for the application process. These documents may include proof of income, verification of participation in qualifying assistance programs, or other supporting documents needed to confirm eligibility.

It is essential to read the rules carefully and give accurate information, as the required paperwork for each household may vary based on circumstances. 

Apply for the ACP Program

The final step is to apply for the program. Head to the Affordable Connectivity Program website and fill out the online application. Keep in mind that you will have to provide personal information, details about your household, and the specified documents during the online application.

Once your application is approved, you will receive a National Verifier ID. After that, you can contact one of the ACP internet providers and select a suitable plan to enjoy an affordable internet connection.

ACP Program Eligibility Criteria

The FCC has set several qualifying conditions for households to access the ACP benefit. To make it more understandable, we have divided the ACP’s eligibility criteria into three categories.

Household Income

The first and most important eligibility criteria is the household income. You can qualify for the ACP if your household income is equal to or less than 200% of the poverty guidelines set by the FCC. You can refer to the following table to understand your position.

Federal-poverty-guidelines-for-acp-program

Source: affordableconnectivity.gov

Participation in the Government Assistance Programs

Another important requirement is participation in a government assistance program. Your household can qualify for the ACP if you or one of your family members is enrolled in one of these programs.

  • Free and Reduced-Price School Lunch Program or School Breakfast Program, including at U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Community Eligibility Provision schools.
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
  • Medicaid
  • Federal Housing Assistance, including the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program (Section 8 Vouchers), Project-Based Rental Assistance (PBRA)/Section 202/ Section 811, Public Housing, and Affordable Housing Programs for American Indians, Alaska Natives or Native Hawaiians.
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Women, Infants and Children (WIC)
  • Veterans Pension or Survivor Benefits
  • Lifeline

You can also qualify if you have received a Federal Pell Grant in the present award year or if you meet the requirements of one of the low-income plans offered by one of the ACP internet providers.

Residence on Tribal Lands

People living on qualifying Tribal Lands can also receive the ACP benefit if they are participating in one of these programs.

  • Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance
  • Tribal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
  • Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations
  • Tribal Head Start (income-based)

Conclusion

After the conclusion of EBB, the federal government has extended reasonable internet access through the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). Although this program has not entirely bridged the digital divide, it has successfully made waves by connecting millions of households to the internet. 

The FCC and the ACP internet providers are increasing digital inclusion by offering discounts on monthly broadband services and devices. Some ACP providers have also introduced ‘Low-Income’ plans, which become free after a $30/month ACP subsidy, to encourage a more connected and fair digital world.

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