AT&T is offering free internet to eligible households. Luis Silva, AT&T’s vice president and general manager for South Texas, who last month spoke with the Defender about his company’s Federal Broadband Assistance Program (the Affordable Connectivity Program), recently explained this latest offer and who gets to take advantage of it.
DEFENDER: How is this new free internet program different from the Affordable Connectivity Plan (ACP) you spoke on last month?
LUIS SILVA: It’s a new plan where participants have a hundred megabytes of speed on the internet, and utilizing the ACP which we talked about before, they receive a $30 credit which they can use and actually get this benefit and get internet service for free.
DEFENDER: So, who’s eligible?
LUIS SILVA: Number one, people who live in public housing or receive SSI, and those who are 200% under the poverty level. If you are 200% under the poverty level, the program offers you $30 a month to help on your internet service or your broadband service or on your prepaid wireless service.
DEFENDER: How does this work? Is there something specific people need to do to sign up?
- Apply to the federal government’s national verifier for the ACP program that was approved by Congress. This is part of $14 billion that the federal government is going to use to help the infrastructure investment in JOBS Act which launched on December 31 of 2022.
- Go to ACPbenefit.org and you click on that link to determine if you eligible. And you get approved online.
- Once you get approved online, you get a number which is determined by the federal government, not by AT&T. Once approved, customers can call AT&T at 855-550-5211. We will verify their ACP approval and add the benefit to their number, according to their plan.
- If you already have the internet service, you can always call us and we can put you in that plan and you’ll receive your credit. If you pick this new plan, it costs $30 a month with a $30 credit. So, you actually get free internet service.
- If you need more internet service, the program gives you $30 and you can pay the difference, but you’ll always get that $30 discount.
DEFENDER: Is this free internet available only for a certain time period?
LUIS SILVA: No. The way it works is as long as you qualify for that credit, you, you get the $30 every single month.
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DEFENDER: What’s in it for AT&T?
LUIS SILVA: Closing the digital divide is one of our biggest causes. Also, we live in these communities. We want to be part of the communities where we live and work. Bridging that digital divide will help provide people with internet access. And from an educational perspective, it’s really good because it helps build a level playing field for most of the people.