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Higgins urges Western New Yorkers to join 10 million American households registered for broadband benefit


Tue, Feb 15th 2022 11:50 am

Affordable Connectivity Program, included in Infrastructure Law, saves residents $30/month on internet

Congressman Brian Higgins is urging all eligible Western New Yorkers to join more than 10 million American households that have signed up for the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), the nation’s largest broadband affordability program. His team said, “Thanks to the ‘Bipartisan Infrastructure Law,’ this program is providing millions of families who previously lacked access or could not afford this critical utility, with affordable and reliable broadband access.”

Higgins said, “At-home internet access is no longer a luxury. It is a necessity in order to stay connected to work, school, health care and more; this has been made widely apparent during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Affordable Connectivity Program is a historic commitment to mitigating the digital divide by providing affordable and reliable broadband access to all Americans. I encourage all eligible Western New York families to take advantage of this program.”

The ACP, administered through the Federal Communications Administration, removes barriers to high-speed, affordable internet service by providing low-income households with a $30 per month discount on monthly internet bills, and a $75 per month discount for households in tribal communities. Additionally, it provides each eligible household with a one-time discount of $100 on a laptop or tablet. The program limits each qualifying household to one monthly discount on their internet bill, and a single one-time discount on a digital device.

In order to qualify, a household must meet any one of the following criteria: an income at or below 200% of poverty guidelines; participates in assistance programs like SNAP, Medicaid, Federal Public Housing Assistance, SSI, WIC or Lifeline; participates in Tribal-specific programs; is approved to receive benefits under the free or reduced lunch or breakfast program, including through schools that participate in the community eligibility provision; has received a federal Pell Grant during the current award year; or meets the eligibility criteria for a participating provider’s existing low-income program.

This year, 170 school buildings in Erie and Niagara counties are providing free breakfast and lunch for all students under the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Community Eligibility provision. As a result, many if not all families with children in the following school districts may be eligible for the Affordable Connectivity Program: Buffalo, Cheektowaga, Maryvale, Cheektowaga-Sloan, Cleveland Hill, Ken-Ton, Lackawanna, Lockport, Niagara Falls, Niagara-Wheatfield, Sweet Home, City of Tonawanda and West Seneca.

Higgins announced the program in January during a news conference at the King Urban Life Center in Buffalo with Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz and Fillmore District Councilmember Mitch Nowakowski, providing information on program eligibility and community impact. Watch a video to learn more at https://youtu.be/Ef9QNWFNOe4.

Households can enroll in the Affordable Connectivity Program by contacting their internet service provider. To learn more about the program and its eligibility requirements, visit https://www.fcc.gov/acp.

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