That exception was eliminated in the new program. So, to qualify for the ACP, a family of three can have an income of up to $46,060 this year, compared with $29,646 in 2021.
Benefit. The maximum monthly benefit changed to $30 a month from $50 a month for households not located on tribal lands. Enrollees in the old plan kept the $50 benefit through February; the new rate began March 1.
Transparency. The new program prohibits upselling — telling customers that they can’t use the benefit on their older, less expensive data plans — or requirements for extended service contracts. These are complaints that some beneficiaries had about their carriers under the old program.
It also requires companies to provide standard labeling for internet download and upload speeds, monthly service costs, taxes, and any equipment and other fees — a move inspired by nutrition labels on food.
“If [internet providers] have the more affordable plan that works for you, you can choose it,” says Dawit Kahsai, senior legislative representative for AARP. So participants in the new program could end up paying less, even with the lower subsidy.
Enrollees should make sure they know what their provider’s base plan costs and should tell their provider that’s the plan they want, says Danielle Arigoni, director of livable communities for AARP. That way, even though the amount of their benefit will be less, they will be paying less out of pocket for their internet service.
Providers have been giving a lot of pushback, and the FCC is still working out some details, Arigoni says.