March 26, 2022, 7:45 a.m. HST
The Affordable Connectivity Program, which was created in response to COVID-19, continues to provide discounts on internet service to low-income families across the state.
The Affordable Connectivity Program came into effect on January 1, 2022 and replaces the former Emergency Broadband Benefits Program.
ACP is funded by the $65 billion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act that was passed by Congress in November 2021.
Last year, more than 17,000 households across Hawai’i were enrolled in the Emergency Broadband Assistance Program, delivering more than $3 million in benefits locally. It is estimated that over 100,000 Hawaiian households could benefit from the Affordable Connectivity Program.
“The transition to the Affordable Connectivity Program through the Congressional Infrastructure Bill establishes a more permanent program to address the cost of internet services for our local ‘ohana who might otherwise not be able to able to afford it,” said Burt Lum, head of broadband strategy for the Hawaiʻi Broadband & Digital Equity Office in a press release issued at the launch of the program. “This new, longer-term program takes us one step closer to achieving digital equity in Hawaii and, more importantly, has the potential to help thousands of kama’āina residents gain access to the digital world. “
While the goal of this program remains the same, several key changes have been made to the Affordable Connectivity Program:
- The EBB program offers a $50 discount on internet service bills per month. ACP is offering up to $30 per month off internet service bills with a continued $75 rebate for households on Hawaiian land.
- In the new CPA, households with incomes up to 200% of the federal poverty line will be eligible, compared to the EBB program which allowed eligible households with incomes of 135% or less of the federal poverty level.
- Device credit under the current EBB program will remain the same. Eligible households can receive a one-time discount of up to $100 toward the purchase of a laptop, desktop, or tablet from participating Hawaiian internet service providers, provided they contribute at least 10 USD to the purchase price.
Hawaiian households are eligible to apply for CPA if a household member meets one of the following conditions:
- Receives benefits from one of the following federal assistance programs: Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Supplemental Security Income, Federal Public Housing Assistance, or Veterans and Survivors Pension Benefit;
- Qualifies to participate in the Lifeline program (with the modification that the eligible household income threshold is at or below 200% of the federal poverty guidelines for a household of that size);
- Has been approved to receive school lunch benefits under the Free and Reduced Price Meals Program or the School Breakfast Program;
- Received a Federal Pell Grant in the current award year;
- Meets the eligibility criteria of a participating provider’s existing low-income program; Where
- Receives assistance through the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC).
To see a full list of eligibility details and participating Hawaiian Internet Service Providers, visit www.fcc.gov/emergency-broadband-benefit-providers#Hawaii.
For more information about the program or to register, visit www.fcc.gov/broadbandbenefit.