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Digital Inclusion

Office of Broadband Development

These resources can help households with the monthly cost of broadband service and obtaining a device.

Reduced Rates for Broadband Service

FCC Affordable Connectivity Plan

The FCC's Affordable Connectivity Plan began January 1, 2022 and is replacing the Emergency Broadband Benefit. To see if you are eligible for this federal program and how to apply, visit www.fcc.gov/acp.

The Affordable Connectivity Plan offers longer term funding to assist qualifying low-income households to pay for their monthly broadband service. The benefit is up to $30 per month and $75 a month on tribal lands per household. Eligible households can also receive a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from participating providers if they contribute more than $10 and less than $50 towards the purchase price.

Enrollment in the ACP is now open for households with at least one member qualifying under any of the following criteria:

  • Has an income that is at or below 200% of the federal poverty guidelines;
  • Participates in certain assistance programs, such as SNAP, Medicaid, Federal Public Housing Assistance, SSI, WIC, or Lifeline;
  • Participates in Tribal specific programs, such as Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance, Tribal TANF, or Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations;
  • Is approved to receive benefits under the free and reduced-price school lunch program or the school breakfast program, including through the USDA Community Eligibility Provision;
  • Received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year; or
  • Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating provider's existing low-income program.

If you are an organization that works with households that may be eligible for the Affordable Connectivity Plan, the FCC also has an outreach toolkit with materials available for public use.

If you were enrolled in the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) program as of December 31, 2021, that benefit will continue until March 1, 2022. More information about steps EBB recipients must take to continue receiving the Affordable Connectivity Program benefit after March 1, 2022 will be available from the FCC in the coming weeks, so check the FCC website.

Low Income Discount Service Offered by Providers

Below are links to low income discounts and/or programs offered by some of the larger broadband providers in Minnesota. Please note that your location will need to be within the service area of the provider to qualify for their discounted offering.

Other Minnesota broadband providers may offer discounted pricing for broadband access as well. You may want to contact your provider directly to see if they offer any discounted programs and how to qualify.

Some Minnesota telephone companies offer the Lifeline discount for broadband service to low income households (discount of $9.25/month or $34.25/month in tribal areas) and/or other discounted pricing. If the telephone company serving your location also provides broadband service, you may want to contact them directly to see if they participate in the Lifeline program or offer a discounted service for eligible households.

PCs for People, in a partnership with Mobile Beacon, also offer a discounted 4G LTE wireless broadband service for approximately $15 per month to eligible low income households. More information on this program.

Discounted Computers

In addition to the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program, Comcast offers discounted pricing on computers under its Internet Essentials program for residents in its coverage area. Another option for a low-cost computer is available through the nonprofit PCs for People. Reach them by phone at 651-354-2552 or visit one of their offices (St. Paul, Mankato, Grand Rapids and Brainerd).

If you want to use a computer but do not want to own one or do not have a broadband connection, the Technology Literacy Collaborative lists community technology centers, including libraries, in the Minneapolis/St. Paul metropolitan area.

Digital Literacy

CTEP Americorp bridges the "digital divide" for new Immigrants and low-income communities in Minneapolis and St. Paul. CTEP AmeriCorps members help youth and adults use technology to better access social, civic, educational and economic opportunities.

NTIA Toolkit

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce was responsible for overseeing the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding for broadband adoption and public computing centers. Using the early results of its evaluation of these projects, the NTIA put together this report to assist others to reach, educate and support people who are not yet online.

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