A plant plush next to a laptop.
Photo by Lingzi Chen.

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Some 124,000 San Francisco households are eligible for free or low-cost home internet from the federal government, yet only 26 percent of eligible households currently receive it. 

That disparity has led the city to this month launch a new initiative, “Connect San Francisco,” to connect residents to the federal Affordable Connectivity Program, which gives eligible families a $30 discount each month for home internet. 

You can go to GetACP.org to quickly check your eligibility and help you apply. Households that earn 200 percent of the federal poverty level — or $29,160 for a single individual, $60,000 for a family of four — and those who qualify for welfare programs like Lifeline, SNAP, and free school lunch are eligible. But check your availability above, just in case.

Here’s what else you need to know about getting your internet free of charge or at reduced costs.

What is it?

The Affordable Connectivity Program is a federal benefit that helps low-income households pay for internet access. It offers $30 off every month for internet plans. Eligible applicants can sign up for a new plan, or deduct the $30 from their existing monthly internet bill.

In San Francisco, the most affordable plan starts at $30 or lower — so with $30 off, it’s free. Eligible households can also receive a one-time $100 discount to purchase a laptop, desktop computer or tablet from a participating service provider. 

A full list of service providers in San Francisco can be found here.

Applications are open and ongoing. There is no deadline for the program.

Who’s eligible?

There are two ways to qualify:

  • If any of your family members participates in government programs such as Lifeline, Medicaid, Reduced School Lunch and others, your household is eligible. A complete list of eligible government programs can be found here.
  • If no one in your household has enrolled in these programs, don’t worry. You can still qualify if your household income is below the set income limit. Check this table for the income limits by household size.

What documents are needed?

  • If you qualify through government programs, you’ll need to provide a letter or official document as proof.
  • If you qualify through income, you need to provide documents that show your annual income, such as tax documents or three consecutive months of paystubs.
  • A complete documentation guide can be found here and here en Español. Please note that if you apply through mail, never send the original document. Only copies or pictures of your originals are needed. Also make sure all documents are valid, not expired.

How to apply?

You may apply online, by mail or through your current internet company. 

  • For an online application, go to the ACP website and click “Apply Now.” You may also apply through GetACP.org, a virtual mobile assistant created to simplify the enrollment process. The assistant helps you check eligibility, and a specialist can help you apply and answer your questions via phone.
  • A mail-in application is also available. Complete the application form available in English or Spanish and mail it to the address here. You’re strongly recommended to fill out a Household Worksheet (English and Spanish) and mail it together with the application form. Again, never mail out your original documents — copies or pictures are good enough.
  • You can also contact your internet provider directly and apply through them.

What happens next?

Once your application is confirmed, you’ll receive a number. Bring that number to an internet service provider, select your internet plan and get $30 off, every month! 

In San Francisco, major service providers like AT&T, Sonic, Comcast and Verizon, and some of the local providers like Monkeybrains, are part of the program.

In addition to GetACP.org, you can also contact the ACP Support Center for help at ACPSupport@usac.org and (877) 384-2575, seven days a week, 6 a.m. to 6 p.m..

a plant plush on a laptop
Photo by Lingzi Chen.

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Lingzi is our newest reporting intern. She covered essential workers in New York City during the pandemic and wrote about China’s healthcare and women’s rights back in college. Before coming to America to pursue her dream in journalism, Lingzi taught in the Department of Chinese Studies in National University of Singapore.

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  1. One other requirement to note and not sure if it matters the county you’re in or a federal requirement (my father is in this program in the South Bay): you have to log in and use your Internet connection at least once per month to keep the discount the next month. They will email you reminders.

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  2. Thanks so much for this. One comment – the list of providers on scribd is illegible and unusable on mobile and laptop and they require a sign up to download.

    While that not seem much, it can be difficult for many folks who might benefit from this to follow through.

    Could you embed the list in the article? Or create an easier to read version? A PDF or spreadsheet.

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