Affordable Connectivity Program and heating assistance help



Mike Festa of AARP Massachusetts highlights the Affordable Connectivity Program and heating assistance.
Mike Festa

High speed internet is no longer a luxury, it’s a necessity. And with the COVID-19 pandemic now entering its third year, access to affordable and reliable high-speed internet, also known as broadband, is essential to providing the connections Massachusetts residents need to family, friends, health care providers, work and so much more.      

Unfortunately for many Massachusetts residents, affordable high-speed internet is not available where they live. Unfortunately, the lack of accessibility and affordability of high-speed internet also serves as a barrier for many who find themselves increasingly isolated and without many options for maintaining these vital connections.  

That’s why AARP fought for the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), which provides new long-term assistance for Bay State residents who are struggling to afford the high-speed internet services they need in these challenging times. Applications are now being accepted for the ACP, a $14.2 billion federal program created late last year as part of the bipartisan infrastructure bill.

The ACP provides eligible recipients a discount of up to $30 per month for high-speed internet services.  Massachusetts residents who are struggling to get by may be eligible to apply for the ACP, including those who:

o   Have household income of less than $25,760 for a single-family household or $43,540 for a couple (at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines).

o   Qualify for the Lifeline program or Medicaid, receive SNAP or WIC benefits, Federal Public Housing Assistance or Veterans and Survivors Pension Benefits.

o   Live on Tribal lands and have at least one person in the household who participates in Bureau of Indian Affairs general assistance, Tribally administered Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Head Start (only those households meeting its income qualifying standard), or the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations.

The ACP modifies and extends the temporary Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) program in effect last year as part of COVID-19 relief. 

Bay Staters enrolled in the EBB Program before 6 p.m. ET on December 30, 2021 will continue to receive their current monthly benefit (up to $50) during the 60-day transition period, which ended on March 1, 2022. As of March 1, 2022, the monthly discount for all legacy EBB participants not located on qualifying Tribal lands has been reduced to $30. 

More than 8.5 million Americans took advantage of the EBB program during its tenure, but we know millions more could be eligible. AARP encourages all Americans who are without access to high-speed internet, or struggling to afford it, to look into the Affordable Connectivity Program today.  Visit for more information; call 1-833-511-0311; or Text INTERNET to 22777.


Heating Assistance

For those needing some assistance to heat their homes in winter, know there is help available to pay your heating bills through the Home Energy Assistance Program (also commonly referred to as Fuel Assistance, and more formally known as LIHEAP – the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program). Home Energy Assistance programs play a critically important role to protect public health and safety by ensuring that all families and individuals have safe access to home heating. 

Homeowners and renters are eligible – including households whose cost of heat is included in the rent and not subsidized. Eligibility is based on household size and the gross annual income of every household member over the age of 18. Household income cannot exceed 60% of estimated State Median Income.

To find out if you qualify, and for more information on other Home Energy assistance programs in Massachusetts, please contact the Massachusetts Association for Community Action (MASSCAP) at or call (800) 632-8175. 




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