No matter what type of freelance work you do, access to reliable internet at home is essential.
While you could certainly pack up your laptop and head to the nearest coffee shop or co-working space to do your work, you also take the risk of encountering unreliable internet and a disruptive environment. Not to mention, the continual cups of coffee you’ll have to order to claim your seat will unnecessarily drive up your business costs.
Moreover, you need to be able to complete your work on your timetable, not a café’s. Whether you’re working with international clients or simply like to maintain your own business hours, you need to have access to the internet at all times.
Freelancers who are reliant on the internet to complete their work should be aware of the Affordable Connectivity Program.
What Is The Affordable Connectivity Fund
The new Affordable Connectivity Fund is an updated Federal Communications Program that offers eligible households up to $30 per month for broadband internet access.
The program will soon be replacing the original Emergency Broadband Benefit Program (through which you could receive $50 per month if your income level was at or below 135% of the Poverty Line) with the goal of offering a more long-term solution to connectivity for eligible households.
The Affordable Connectivity Program is unique in a few ways. At its core, it’s a program that helps households afford essential broadband connection. It has also broadened the qualifications for families, ensuring more households can access the fund. Additionally, the program requires all internet service plans to be eligible.
How Does The Program Work
If your household is enrolled in the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program, as of December 31, 2021 your benefit will remain the same for the following 60 days during the transition period. If you’re not enrolled, there’s still time. However, changes are coming for next year.
Here’s what’s going to change:
- If you are a household that is receiving WIC benefits or if your income level is at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level Guidelines, you will be eligible to apply.
- If you currently qualify for the Emergency Broadband Benefit (you can check that here), you will need to requalify for the Affordable Connectivity Program.
- Under the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program, you’ll receive up to $50 toward your monthly internet connection. Once it converts to the Affordable Connectivity Fund, you will receive $30. For households that are located on qualified Tribal lands, you will receive $75.
How to Enroll
In the meantime, you can still enroll in the Emergency Broadband Benefit program, before it converts to the Affordable Connectivity Fund, follow these steps:
- Visit GetEmergencyBroadband.org and submit your application. You may also print out a mail-in application.
- Get in touch with your nearby internet provider and select an eligible plan. Have the discount applied to that plan.
Note: Some providers may require you to fill out a specific service plan.
Not Sure How to Find a Participating Provider?
The Federal Communications Commission has provided a list of broadband service providers. You must apply for the program and then contact a participating service provider to select a qualifying plan.
You may also transfer plans between providers if you so choose.
How Long Will This Program Last?
The Affordable Connectivity Program will be replacing the temporary Emergency Broadband Benefit Program and is a long-term, $14 billion program. However, you can enroll in the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program right now and receive similar benefits in the future via the Affordable Connectivity Program so long as you meet the qualifications.
If you have additional questions, check out the consumer FAQ For Emergency Broadband Benefit to get more information.