The Affordable Connectivity Program or ACP is a brand new government assistance program that provides eligible low-income households with discounts on monthly broadband services. While phone services have been considered a basic need since the 1980s (thus the Lifeline program), internet services have been proven to be vital during the pandemic, when most of us had to work, study, and socialize from home – via the internet. As such, the government has launched a new benefits program that helps make sure that all U.S. citizens can stay connected.
Numerous wireless and internet companies have decided to participate in the ACP program since the moment it was launched. And while all participants provide a discount on monthly broadband services of up to $30 (or $75 on Tribal lands), some providers may also offer a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase an internet-connected device (tablet, laptop, or desktop computer) if the customer pays a mandatory co-pay of more than $10 and less than $50. Indeed, the full list of ACP benefits depends on your ACP provider – some are less and others are more generous.
Therefore, it makes total sense that you may wish to switch to another ACP provider at a certain point. And if so, you have come to the right place, as in this article you will find out how to switch Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) providers and more.
What Is the Process to Switch ACP Provider
The process of switching an ACP provider is as quick and simple as it gets.
The first thing you need to know is that only eligible households can apply for the program and that only one benefit is available per household. As such, you can only receive ACP benefits from one provider at a time, however, you can transfer your benefit to another provider at any time, however, not more often than once a month.
In order to switch your ACP provider, you must simply:
- Find a new ACP provider in your state of residence that best fits your needs.
- Contact your old provider to close your account.
- Contact the new provider and ask them to transfer your ACP benefit. Perhaps, you will need to reapply before your provider can transfer you. Make sure to provide all the required personal and ACP-eligibility information during the application process. See details below.
How to Switch ACP Providers / How to Transfer Your ACP Benefit to Another Provider
As mentioned above, to switch your ACP provider, you must follow a certain procedure.
First, find a new provider that offers ACP benefits in your area. You can see the list of all the providers in your area at fcc.gov/affordable-connectivity-program-providers. Choose your state or territory and see the participating companies. If you wish to switch to a provider that offers a one-time discount on connected devices, see the ones that have a tick under ‘Offering Connected Devices’. Make sure to choose a provider that offers high-quality services and best fits your needs. Keep in mind that you can only receive benefits from a company that offers these benefits in your area.
Second, contact your current ACP provider to close your service. Make sure that you have no unfinished business with your old provider and if you do, make sure to pay the company what you owe, otherwise, you won’t be able to unsubscribe.
Thirdly, contact your new ACP service provider. Ask them to transfer your benefit. You may need to reapply. In case you have already received a discounted ACP internet-connected device through the program, you will not be able to receive a new one when changing providers. The company will transfer your ACP service to another provider through the National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD). This process is similar to the initial enrollment process. Service providers must fill out the NLAD standard batch template form or the application ID batch template. To complete this process, you will have to provide several personal and ACP-eligibility information, including:
- Your full legal name
- Date of birth
- Identity information
- Home address
- Phone number
- Your consent to transfer your benefit
When you are contacting your ACP providers (both the old and the new ones), you will probably have several options on how to do so.
- One option is by phone. All ACP providers should offer a phone line for customer support service. Make sure to check the working hours.
- You can also try to contact the company online – through an online contact form or email.
- Some ACP providers also offer local stores. Search for your provider’s store near you online.
When you contact the provider, make sure to provide as much information and detail about the transaction as possible. Otherwise, the representative will guide you through the process, so you don’t have to worry about a thing.
Are There Any Conditions for Changing ACP Providers?
The Affordable Connectivity Program is a government assistance program, therefore it comes with a list of strict rules and conditions that must be followed, including:
- You can only apply for the ACP benefit in the first place if you are ACP-eligible.
- Only one ACP benefit is available per eligible household.
- You can only receive an ACP benefit from one provider at a time.
- You have the right to change your service provider once a month.
- In certain cases, you may also be eligible to transfer your benefits more than once a month. To check, make sure to contact your company.
What Are the Reasons for Changing ACP Providers?
As there are numerous ACP providers in every U.S. state, territory, and Tribal land and they offer slightly different benefits, there are many reasons why a person would want to switch ACP providers.
- You may have to change your provider if you have moved to a new address. If the new address is located in an area where your current provider also offers its services, you won’t have to switch. However, if your old provider does not offer benefits in your new area, you will have to find a new provider.
- You may have to change your provider if your current provider stops offering ACP services. If you receive both ACP and Lifeline services and your provider has decided to no longer offer Lifeline, you may also want to switch to a provider that offers both.
- You may wish to switch to a provider that also offers Lifeline benefits, as this way, you may also be able to receive a free phone.
- Your previous provider may have charged late fees that were higher than your monthly service cost.
- You may wish to receive more benefits (more internet or monthly data).
- If you haven’t received a discounted ACP connected device yet, you may wish to choose a provider that offers them.
- You may want to choose a provider that offers better coverage or more reliable services in your area.
What Should You Consider Before Switching to a New Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) Provider?
Before you switch your ACP provider, make sure to take some important considerations into account:
- Make sure that your new provider offers services in your area.
- Compare the benefits offered by the old and new providers.
- Choose the provider that offers the benefits that best fit your needs.
- Make sure that you are eligible for all those benefits.
- Make sure your new provider offers reliable services.
What Are the Reasons to Lose the Eligibility of ACP Benefits?
If you lose your ACP eligibility, you won’t be able to enjoy the benefits any longer. Make sure to notify your provider of your eligibility loss within 30 days. You may lose your eligibility due to:
- Your improved annual household income. If you or another member of your household has recently improved their financial conditions, you may not be ACP eligible anymore.
- Your canceled participation in a qualifying government assistance program.
- Your changed physical address.
- Your participation in several ACP programs (this is a violation).
- Your failure to notify your provider that you are no longer eligible within 30 days (this is a violation).
- Your failure to re-enroll to the program once a year.
- Your application despite the fact that your household is already receiving the benefit.
- Your failure to use the benefit at least once every 30 days.
Some of these reasons allow you to reapply, but others may cause permanent eligibility loss.
How Can I Switch Internet Providers Without Losing the Internet?
The ACP provider switch is such a quick and simple process that in most cases, you should not experience an interruption in service. However, if you do, the interruption will surely be minimal.
However, unlike switching regular providers, switching ACP providers doesn’t allow you to overlap your services.
Do I Have to Pay Any Charges to Change ACP Providers?
Whether or not you have to pay any charges when changing ACP providers depends on the provider. However, most ACP providers do not charge any switching or transfer fees.
23 Best ACP Providers in USA
ACP providers are available in all U.S. states, territories, and Tribal lands. Some of the best ACP providers include:
- Access Wireless
- AirTalk Wireless
- Assurance Wireless
- Suddenlink Communications
- Boost Mobile
- Century Link
- Cintex Wireless
- Cox Communications
- Comcast (Xfinity)
- Easy Wireless
- Excess Telecom
- Metro by T-Mobile
- NewPhone Wireless
- PCs for People
- Q Link Wireless
- StandUp Wireless
- TracFone Wireless
- US Connect
Switch Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) Provider Related FAQs
What is an ACP Provider?
An Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) provider is a wireless or internet company that participates in the ACP government assistance program. The provider receives funds from the government, which enable it to provide eligible customers with free or discounted monthly internet services and in some cases, discounted ACP internet-connected devices (tablets, laptops, or desktops).
How Do I Know Which ACP Provider is Best for Me?
Which provider is best for you depends on your priorities. The best way to know is to check the official websites of all the ACP providers in your area and review their benefits. Also, remember to check the quality of the provider’s services and coverage in your area.
How Do I Qualify for ACP if I’m New?
To qualify for ACP, you must meet certain eligibility criteria. First, you must be at least 18 years old or an emancipated minor. You must also be a resident of one of the states where your selected provider is offering its services. In addition, you must meet the FCC-determined ACP eligibility criteria. You are eligible if your annual household income is at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Guideline, if your household has received a Federal Pell Grant in the current school year, or if a household member participates in one of the qualifying government assistance programs, such as Lifeline, Medicaid, SNAP, SSI, WIC, Tribal TANF, Free and Reduced-Price School Lunch Program or School Breakfast Program, etc.
If I Qualify for ACP, How Much Can I Save?
As mentioned before, not all ACP providers offer the exact same benefits. However, generally, eligible households can receive a discount on monthly internet services of up to $30 or $75 for eligible households on Tribal lands.
Do I Need to Re-enroll in ACP Every Year?
Yes, you can only receive the benefit for one year. Afterward, you can keep the discount by reapplying every year.
How to Cancel ACP Service?
To cancel your ACP service, you should simply contact your current ACP provider. Make sure to talk to a representative and include why you wish to cancel your service (e.g. because you lost your device, because you are moving, etc.), for how long (permanently or temporary), and all other details.