If you’ve heard rumors about free tablets being provided by the federal government’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), don’t get your hopes up. While eligible households can receive deep discounts on tablets, there’s nothing on any official government website indicating that they’re free.
The ACP is a benefit program run by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that helps ensure households can afford the broadband they need for work, school, healthcare and more.
According to the ACP website, the program provides a discount of up to $30 per month toward internet service for eligible households and up to $75 per month for households on qualifying Tribal lands. 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 toward the purchase price.
A household is eligible for ACP if its income is at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines, or if a member of the household meets certain criteria — including participation in SNAP, the food-assistance program formerly known as food stamps. SNAP payments are now made using an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card.
Nowhere does the ACP website mention a free tablet. However, eligible households can get a tablet with a contribution of as little as $10.01 … so it’s not too far off.
Still, that stands in contrast to certain websites indicating that free tablets are available through SNAP/ACP. One of those websites is Government Free Phone, which has a blog titled, “How to Get Free Tablet With EBT.” Among the providers mentioned as offering free tablets are Q Link Wireless, Standup Wireless and Easy Wireless.
But take a quick look at their websites, and you won’t see anything about a free tablet either.
According to the Q Link Wireless site, it offers ACP subscribers under its network a new tablet along with free and unlimited cell phone service, but adds that the ACP “requires subscribers to contribute a one-time $10.01 co-pay before receiving their tablet.”
StandUp Wireless’ website also promotes “tablets for only $10.01,” and says it is required by the FCC to charge at least that amount to qualifying participants.
Similarly, the ACP page on Easy Wireless’ website makes no mention of a free tablet, saying only that an eight-inch tablet valued at $120 is available for only $10.99.
So, you’re not likely to find a free tablet through ACP — but you can snag a good deal on one if you qualify.
To enroll in ACP, go to AffordableConnectivity.gov to submit an application or print out a mail-in application. Another option is to contact your preferred participating provider to select a plan and have the discount applied to your bill.
More From GOBankingRates