The City recognizes that internet access is critical for families and individuals as we begin to recover from the pandemic. Internet access is essential for all Philadelphia residents to do a wide range of activities, from schoolwork to job searching to getting vaccinated and staying healthy.  

 In the past year, there have been exciting developments to help households get the internet access they need. The City’s Office of Innovation and Technology is committed to making sure everyone can remain connected and internet access is available for all.  

 For additional support, call a Digital Navigator helpline to walk you through the options listed below. 

PHLConnectED

PHLConnectED is the City’s initiative to help pre-K–12 families get free access to a fast and reliable internet connection. Since its launch in August 2020, PHLConnectED has provided over 18,000 free internet connections to Philadelphia pre-K–12 families.   

Families can dial 2-1-1 to sign up and find out if they’re eligible for PHLConnectED. For language services, press 8.  

Through PHLConnectED, you can either get:  

  • Wired, high-speed internet through Comcast’s Internet Essentials; OR  
  • T-Mobile wireless hotspots with unlimited data for families who are experiencing housing insecurity and/or cannot be served by Comcast. 

Households eligible for free internet through PHLConnectED include: 

  • Those who do not have internet access; 
  • Have mobile phone internet access only; 
  • Are experiencing homelessness or housing insecurity; 
  • Have students who participate in remote learning in locations without internet access; 
  • Participate in public benefit programs with income qualifications like Medicaid or SNAP; 
  • Have students designated as English Learners; and/or 
  • Have students who receive special education services. 

You can learn more about PHLConnectED at phila.gov/phlconnected.

The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP)

The Affordable Connectivity Program (previously known as the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB)) is a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) benefit program to help all U.S. households access or keep their internet.

Eligible households in Philadelphia can receive:

  • A discount of up to $30 per month towards broadband service; and
  • A one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from participating providers if a household contributes between $10 and $50 toward the purchase price.

A household is eligible if a member of the household meets at least one of the criteria below:

  1. Has been 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 in the 2019–2020 or 2020–2021 school year;
    1. Note: All School District of Philadelphia households are eligible under this provision regardless of income.
  2. Has an income that is at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines or participates in certain assistance programs, such as SNAP, Medicaid, SSI, WIC, Federal Housing Assistance, or Lifeline;
  3. Has received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year;
  4. Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating provider’s existing low-income program.

To get this benefit there are four steps:

  • Apply by going to https://acpbenefit.org/.
  • Check your eligibility status and then complete the universal verifier application on this website.
  • Find a participating internet service provider.
  • Sign up with that provider to apply the benefit. You may be able to apply it to your current internet service. You can also use it to get internet access for the first time if you are not currently signed up for internet service.

A few more important facts about the ACP:

  1. If you are currently in the Lifeline program, you do not need to apply again for the ACP. You can apply your Lifeline and ACP benefit to the same or to separate service. For example, you can apply your Lifeline benefit to a mobile phone plan and your ACP benefit to a separate home internet plan.
  2. You will have to submit documents that verify your identity. You do NOT have to submit a social security card. You can upload other documents, such as an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN).
  3. You can apply using a paper application and submit the required documents by mail. This document is in English and Spanish.
  4. You can use this benefit for fixed, in-home broadband such as Comcast Internet Essentials, Xfinity, or Verizon FIOS. You can also use this benefit toward a wireless mobile hotspot offered by several providers such as T-Mobile or AT&T Cricket.
  5. You can also use this benefit toward your wireless mobile phone plan if your mobile phone provider is participating in the benefit. Contact your internet or wireless mobile phone provider and ask if they are participating in the ACP.
  6. Not all Internet Service Providers are offering devices. If you need a device, you must get your device and your internet through the same provider.
  7. Read more on the FCC’s Consumer FAQ.

Everyone can help spread the word about the Affordable Connectivity Program. Flyers, factsheets and other promotional materials are available through the ACP Outreach Toolkit. Consumer materials are also available in the following languages: ArabicChinese-TraditionalChinese-SimplifiedFrenchHaitian-CreoleKoreanPortugueseRussianSpanishTagalog, and Vietnamese.

If you need any help or support to get internet access, call a Digital Navigator helpline to walk you through the options above.