The affordable connectivity program (ACP) has recently been one of the best ways to save on broadband service. And the better part, the program is available with even premium broadband providers. A perfect example is the Verizon ACP program, which makes it possible to get the nation’s largest Carrier at a more affordable rate.
As you may know, Verizon is one of the most expensive services- actually the most expensive cell phone service, in the country. The cheapest mobile broadband service usually goes for $35/ month, whereas the fixed home internet is at least $40.
However, with ACP benefits, you can enjoy up to a free broadband connection each month. You’ll only need to be eligible for the program, which is pretty easy as long you’re on low income.
Also Interested: How To Switch From Verizon To Visible
Introducing What’s Affordable Connectivity Program
The affordable connectivity program (ACP) is a government program that brings broadband discounts to low-income families. It came to be at the end of 2021 as part of the infrastructure expansion project that the Congress had passed in November.
Although a unique program of its own, ACP is a replacement for the emergency broadband benefit (EBB). EBB was the initial broadband benefit that the government had launched in May 2021 to support families has affected financially.
Sadly, however, the EBB was a temporary benefit. The federal communication commission (FCC) had even announced the program would end if its $3.2 billion funding was depleted was no longer a health emergency.
ACP, which now came to replace EBB, was a longer-term benefit, thanks to its bigger budget of $14.1 billion.
The Affordable Connectivity Program with Verizon has a Lesser Subsidy
Technically, all the eligible telecommunication carriers (ETC) I’ve come to know are participating in the affordable connectivity program. It’s more like they automatically qualify to participate in the program and offer the benefit to interested consumers.
After all, the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC), the government agency that administers Lifeline, is also responsible for the affordable connectivity program.
And what this means is that broadband providers that would like to offer the ACP benefits have to register with USAC. But since the ETCs are already in the system for lifeline government phones, they can “use their ETC designation status to participate in ACP”.
When looking at how to get a free tablet with EBT the other day, I mentioned lifeline users also automatically qualify for ACP. The automatic eligibility isn’t just with lifeline providers, but also premium providers like Verizon participating in the ACP.
Nevertheless, unlike lifeline providers like AirTalk Wireless Free Phone service, Verizon has quite a limitation on ACP. The thing is that the broadband benefit only gives most of the eligible consumers a $30 discount ($75 on Tribal lands). And compared with the market pricing of the Verizon service, almost all plans have a small payment after ACP subsidy.
But before we look at that, how can you get the Verizon ACP program? Is the enrolling process the same way as AirTalk Wireless and other ETCs?
How to Get Verizon ACP Program in 2023
When applying for the affordable connectivity program with ETCs/ lifeline providers, you can do everything there. Once you’ve submitted an application, the free government phone provider will forward the credentials to National Verifier on your behalf. Then after the National Verifier approves your registration, the provider will start processing the order you made.
As for the case of Verizon and other prepaid/ postpaid broadband providers on ACP, most of them don’t have a direct means to enroll. They require you first apply for the program with the National Verifier at www.affordableconnectivity.gov/.Then once approved and have a National Verifier ID, you should come back to Verizon to complete enrollment.
In a nutshell, this was also the registration process for the Cricket Wireless EBB Program. But after the transition to ACP, the MVNO now lets you apply directly from its site.
One thing to point out is that the National Verifier can take a few minutes to several days to process a new registration. Enrollments done traditionally (by Mail) take the longest to get processed- up to ten days.
For this reason, it’s a great idea to make sure you’ll qualify for ACP with Verizon before applying.
Qualification for Verizon ACP Program:
There are two main ways how to qualify for the Verizon ACP program. You’ll need to either:
- Have a low income at or below 200% of the current federal poverty guidelines. The emphasis here is on “current” as the rate under these poverty guidelines tends to change each year.
- Participate in any of the supported government assistance programs. The emphasis here is on “supported” as the government has many assistance programs, yet only select are eligible for ACP benefits. Some of the supported examples are:
- Supplemental security income (SSI)
- Lifeline government phones program
- Federal public housing assistance (FPHA)
- Veterans & Veteran’s Survivors Pension
- A Federal Pell Grant in the current award year
- Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
- Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
- Food Stamps or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
- Head Start, Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance, and other Tribal-administered assistance programs
- School Breakfast or School Lunch Program (including from the USDA Community Eligibility Provision).
The requirements to qualify for a free lifeline phone from the government are a lot similar to ACP. The difference is that you will need an income level at or below 135% of poverty guidelines. Then for an application based on the federal assistance programs, all the programs above except the student Pell Grant and School Breakfast/ Lunch program, are eligible.
Basically, this is the reason you automatically qualify to get an affordable connectivity program with Verizon if already on the Lifeline program. What you just need to do is get your (active) National Verifier ID from the lifeline approval. Then come back to www.verizon.com/home/acp/page and go straight to Step 2 to order a broadband service plan.
Verizon Mobile & Home Broadband Plans with ACP Discount
After the National Verifier approves your application, the next step to get the Verizon ACP program will be to order a broadband service. And at the time of writing, the local company has three different categories of broadband service eligible for a discount.
Cat1: Verizon Mobile Broadband Plans with ACP Discount
In this category, Verizon brings you the ACP discount in the postpaid Mix and Match phone plans or Mobile Hotspots plans.
|Verizon Mix & Match (postpaid)
|Mobile Hotspot (postpaid)
|$70 Start Unlimited: has unlimited high-speed deprioritized data (with no cap)
|$20 Essential Hotspot: starts with 15GB of premium data, then unlimited 3G to 3Mbps speed
|$80 Do More Unlimited: starts with 50GB of high-speed priority data. Then unlimited high-speed deprioritized data (with no cap)
|$40 Plus Hotspot: includes 50GB of premium data, then unlimited 3G to 3Mbps speed
|$80 Play More Unlimited: starts with 50GB of high-speed priority data. Then unlimited high-speed deprioritized data (with no cap).
|$60 Pro Hotspot: includes 100GB of premium data, then unlimited 3G to 3Mbps speed
|$90 Get More Unlimited: has unlimited high-speed priority data (with no cap)
|$80 Premium Hotspot: includes 150GB of premium data, then unlimited 3G to 3Mbps speed
If you can qualify (by soft credit check), the Verizon Postpaid phone service is one of the best cell phone services. It has many perks, including a free subscription to entertainment services like Hulu, Disney+, ESPN+, Google Play Pass, and Apple Arcade. Then you get “truly” unlimited data (with no cap) and higher network priority when online (data speed doesn’t slow during congestion).
Unfortunately, the Verizon postpaid mobile service is the most expensive broadband group from the carrier. But once approved for the ACP benefit, Verizon will be applying the ($30) broadband discount amount as a bill credit. Thus, you will just need to subtract the total amount of the bill and the discount to get the due balance.
For instance, when you join Verizon Start Unlimited valued at $70, subtract with a $30 subsidy. Then you’ll have a due balance of $40 at the end of the month.
Tip: the Verizon Mix & Match pricing here includes taxes, surcharges, and other government fees. It’s the same case with Mobile hotspot plans.
Take note, Mobile Hotspot Tiers Essential And Plus are only accessible with at least one Mix and match phone plan. It’s only Mobile Hotspot Pro or Premium plan you can use as a standalone service, whether with or without an ACP discount.
Cat2: Verizon Prepaid Mobile Broadband Plans with ACP Discount
The second way you can get the Verizon ACP program will be to redeem with a prepaid service. Prepaid phone subscription is usually cheaper than postpaid, both on Major Carriers and mobile virtual network operators (MVNOSs).
|Verizon Prepaid Phone Plans
|Verizon Prepaid Data Plans
|$30 Talk & Text: doesn’t qualify for the ACP discounts, as it has no high-speed data
|$40 5GB Plan: Includes 5GB of high-speed deprioritized data, then unlimited 3G speeds
|$35 15GB: has 15GB of high-speed deprioritized data (then unlimited 2G data)
|$60 25GB Plan: Includes 25GB of high-speed deprioritized data, then unlimited 3G speeds
|$50 Unlimited: has unlimited high-speed deprioritized data.
|$80 100GB Plan: includes 100GB of high-speed deprioritized data, then unlimited 3G to 3Mbps speed
|$60 Unlimited Plus: starts with 50GB of high-speed priority data. Then unlimited high-speed deprioritized data (with no cap).
|$100 150GB Plan: includes 150GB of high-speed deprioritized data, then unlimited 3G to 3Mbps speed
If the $30 Verizon prepaid plan has at least 5GB of high-speed data like AT&T, you would qualify for a free monthly service after ACP subsidy. But now the broadband plans start at $35 plan and subtract a $30 ACP subsidy, you’ll have a $5 remaining balance that will be due at the beginning of the month.
If you’re on the $50 prepaid plan, the due balance after Verizon applies your ACP program credit will be $20, then the $60 Service will be $30.
Tip: the pricing of the Verizon prepaid phone service here also includes taxes and other government fees. It’s the same with the Data-only prepaid plans (here you can use either data plan as a standalone. However, when you have a prepaid phone service, there’s a $30 discount on either plan).
Cat3: Verizon Home Internet Broadband Plans with ACP Discount
The third and last way how to get the Verizon ACP program will be to enroll in the home internet service. And in a way, the deal is great here as you can get a full discount on your account. Thus, giving you a free Verizon home internet service per month.
|Verizon Fios Home Internet
|Verizon 5G Home Internet
|300Mbps at $49.99 (without a 5G mobile plan)
|5G Home at $50 (without 5G mobile plan)
|LTE Home at $50 (without 5G mobile plan)
|500Mbps at $69.99 (without a 5G mobile plan)
|5G Home Plus at $70 (without 5G mobile plan)
|Fios 1Gig at $89.99 (without 5G mobile plan)
When you check the pricing structure of the Verizon home Internet here, there’s no single plan at a regular price of $30 or under. However, all the first Internet plans listed (300Mbps on FiOS, 5G Home, and LTE Home plans) are FREE per month if eligible for the ACP program.
What happens is that there’s a special Verizon Forward Program that offers internet service discounts to customers on the affordable connectivity program. And when the ACP subsidy combines with the Verizon Forward discount, you now get up to $50 off the monthly internet bundle.
Tip: unfortunately, the Verizon FiOS prepaid service is no longer available for new customers. It’s now available as a grandfathered service, whereby only the old customers that registered (when it was available) continue to receive it.
However, I’m still yet to confirm if the grandfathered FiOS prepaid customers are eligible for both ACP and Verizon Forward discounts. If the tier only qualifies for ACP subsidy, the Verizon Forward discount was initially available to just FiOS Mix & Match package (Verizon Fios Home Internet), anyways.
It’s worth noting Verizon is offering the ACP subsidy to customers who are on other traditional FiOS bundles. The offer is also available with the Verizon HSI (high-speed internet) connectionthat the company supply via DSL infrastructure.
Before you proceed to apply for the affordable connectivity program with Verizon, there are some crucial points to keep in mind:
- Verizon ACP program doesn’t include a free tablet or laptop discount that the FCC mentions you would get under the “$100 discount of connected device”.
- Verizon ACP program is only available to one enrollment in each household, as per FCC rules on the broadband benefit. This means you shouldn’t attempt to apply if another person you live together has already registered for the program with Verizon or any other service provider.
- Verizon ACP program is not transferable between friends or even family members. If you’re moving out of your current house and want to leave the ACP benefit to another person, you should cancel your enrollment. Then have the other person apply afresh with his credentials. (The only transfer of ACP enrollment the FCC allows is when moving to another service provider).
- Verizon ACP program subsidy will be lost if you don’t use your service. It’s yet another vital rule the FCC has placed on all affordable connectivity program applicants, just like in Lifeline phones.
Keep an Eye on the End of the Government Subsidy
As with many of my topics, there are still things to talk about under the Verizon ACP program. But what I’ve covered here is the most relevant if you want to take advantage of the government benefit with the carrier’s mobile or home broadband service.
In my opinion, though, choosing the Verizon ACP program with the home internet service will be more worthwhile. Not only do you have a chance to get connected from as low as FREE per month, but the internet will be easier to share with more devices.
Irrespective of the Verizon broadband service chosen, keep in mind you have to continue being eligible for ACP to get the $30 discount (or $75 tribal discount) on your mobile or home internet bill. It’s the reason you must recertify for the ACP benefit with National Verifier every year.
Meanwhile, there are still no details on how long the affordable connectivity program with last. The federal communications commission, which oversees ACP, only states the program is a longer-term replacement of the previous EBB.
However, Verizon states the FCC will alert carriers and subscribers at least sixty (60) days before the last month of the ACP offer. And considering the FCC hasn’t sent this message yet, it means we can rule out the benefit ending in 2023.