Program provides free or low-cost internet, devices

Alicia Colombo

Information provided by The City of Philadelphia


The COVID-19 pandemic enhanced our reliance on the internet to access vital information and news, health care services, entertainment, and social interactions. Now, in 2023, reliable internet is an essential part of daily life. Whether you are participating in the workforce, going to school, or accessing basic resources, you need to get online to stay informed and connected with the world.

The City of Philadelphia understands the importance of broadband access and has made digital equity a high priority. In 2020, it launched PHLConnectED to help families with school-age children access free internet. The City also has a team of Digital Navigators available to meet one-on-one with residents to provide support with accessing free or low-cost internet and devices and digital skills-building resources.

The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) is a federal benefit provided by the Federal Communications Commission that helps ensure households can afford the broadband internet access they need. The ACP can help thousands of Philadelphians get connected to free or low-cost broadband internet.

Eligible households can receive a discount of up to $30 per month toward broadband service; and a discount of up to $100 to buy a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from participating providers. (Recipients must contribute $10-$50 toward the device cost.) U.S. citizenship or a Social Security number is not required to apply for the ACP.

To be eligible, one member of the household must meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • Has an income at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines – $36,620 for a two-person household, $46,060 for three people or $55,500 for four people.
  • Participates in certain assistance programs, such as SNAP, Medicaid, Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8), Project-Based Rental Assistance (202/811), public housing, SSI, WIC or Lifeline.
  • Participates in the Free- and Reduced-Price School Lunch Program or School Breakfast Program, including at U.S. Department of Agriculture Community Eligibility Provision schools. (All School District of Philadelphia households are eligible for the ACP under the Free- and Reduced-Price School Lunch Program.)
  • Received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year.
  • Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating provider’s existing low-income internet program.

For more information about the Affordable Connectivity Program or to apply online, call 2-1-1 or go to getacp.org/phl. The website offers Spanish and Chinese translations. You can also dial 2-1-1 to schedule an appointment with a digital navigator who can walk you through all your options for internet service. The 211 hotline operates 24/7 and is available in 150 languages by pressing 8 for language services.

Categories: Milestones eNews Technology

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