YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The FCC has a new program for low-income households. The Affordable Connectivity Program, known as the ACP, is helping families who are struggling to afford internet service.
The Oak Hill Collaborative in Youngstown is helping to provide this to the entire Valley.
Oak Hill Collaborative Director Patrick Kerrigan said this replaces the Emergency Broadband Benefit, a temporary pandemic-related subsidy.
“Congress has made this permanent. This is not just a temporary pandemic-related thing which the EBB was,” he said.
The discount will be smaller for households, however, the ACP is expanding to help more people. Part of the expansion is coming to the federal poverty guidelines.
The qualifications increased from 135% to 200%. That means a family of four who used to make around $36,000 of household income can now make around $53,000 to be eligible.
Kerrigan says they’re aiming to help families that haven’t been able to receive assistance before.
“That’s a big gap and that’s who we are trying to reach now. They were never eligible before,” he said.
The government is giving $14.2 billion toward the ACP.
Eligible households can receive a discount of up to $30 per month for internet service.
Kerrigan mentioned Youngstown is the second-worst connected city in Ohio, Warren being the fifth.
He stresses the importance of internet access for all.
“Online, you apply for jobs, government benefits, telemedicine. People that don’t have computer service, they miss out on it,” Kerrigan said.
If eligible, the Oak Hill Collaborative can help you apply. You can also apply online.