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Half of ACP Users Are Military Families. These Internet Discounts Can Help Fill the Gap

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As the Affordable Connectivity Program nears its end, one group will be disproportionately affected. Military families make up nearly half of all ACP recipients, according to a White House fact sheet. That means more than 10 million veterans, service members and their families will see internet bills increase at the end of the month. 

“If the program ends, then some Veterans will have to pay $30 to $75 more for access to the internet every month — and others may lose access to the internet entirely,” Department of Veterans Affairs Press Secretary Terrence Hayes told CNET. “That’s unacceptable, especially at a time when telehealth has become such an important tool.”

According to a recent study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, video-based telehealth visits account for nearly 12% of outpatient care among veterans, a 2,300% jump from pre-pandemic levels. Another report from the Federal Communications Commission determined that the monthly cost of an internet subscription was a “key barrier to broadband adoption” for veterans. With that in mind, the end of the ACP could have dramatic ripple effects on the well-being of the military community.  

While no single program can replace the $30 to $75 monthly discount that the ACP offers, several other options are available to military families, including discounts from internet providers and other government subsidies. 

Military discounts from internet providers

Many internet providers offer discounts for military families. You can also check out our roundup of the best cheap internet providers for more low-cost options. These are all the discounts I found in my research, but there may be regional providers available at your address that I didn’t cover. You can find all the internet providers in your area by entering your address on the FCC’s broadband map.

Cox

Anyone who receives a VA Pension and Survivors benefit is eligible to take advantage of Cox’s ConnectAssist plan. It provides speeds up to 100Mbps for $30 a month, which is $20 less than Cox charges for the same speeds without the discount. 

Rise Broadband

Active and retired military members will be able to get 10% off monthly internet services from Rise Broadband — one of the more generous discounts that I came across. Rise primarily offers fixed wireless internet service in rural areas, with plans ranging from $25 to $100 monthly. You’ll have to speak with customer service directly to activate the discount. 

Starlink

Starlink doesn’t technically offer a military discount, but Home Depot does — and you can use it to get 10% off Starlink’s $599 satellite dish (a $59 discount). Starlink’s monthly prices are still on the high side at $120, but it’s a great option in rural areas without any other high-speed internet providers.

Verizon Fios

All military members and veterans are eligible for the Verizon Fios military discount. Here are the savings you’ll get on each Verizon Fios plan: 

  • $5 off per month on 300Mbps
  • $10 off per month on 500Mbps
  • $15 off per month on Gigabit Connection

Xfinity

Xfinity offers an array of discounts for military members, including a $180 virtual prepaid card, a subscription to Peacock Premium and a free Xfinity Mobile cellphone line for a year. Any active or reserve military members, retired military, veterans, spouses or family members living in the same house as one of the above is eligible. 

Internet providers that don’t offer a military discount

At the time of writing, the following providers don’t currently offer any discounts on internet service for military members:

Other resources for affordable internet 

In addition to the programs listed above, there are several low-income internet options worth investigating. Lifeline is the most significant ACP replacement around right now. The program has stricter income requirements than the ACP — your annual income needs to be at or below 135% of federal poverty guidelines, or $42,120 for a family of four. The benefit is also just $9.25 monthly, but it can be used on either home internet or cellphone plans. Additionally, your state or city may have resources available to help keep military families connected. 





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