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How To Get Low-Income Internet through Hughesnet

Affordable Connectivity Program benefits are ending, but you can still get discounted internet through other programs

The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) has run out of funding and is shutting down. This means that millions of Americans will be losing the discounts that they relied on to balance their internet bill with their household budget. While there’s still an urgent need for a nationwide solution at the federal level, there are other low-income internet programs that are still available.

Satellite internet is one of the most expensive ways to connect to the internet, but it has the advantage of reaching many of the rural areas where many people relied on the ACP. Hughesnet is by far the most affordable satellite option, so it’s worth considering if you live in an area with few internet options.

Alternatives to the ACP

The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) has been one of the most effective and efficient programs for expanding internet access in low-income communities. While its closure will have a significant impact on those in the program and the broader economy, there are, fortunately, other programs to help people get internet. One of the easiest ways to transition away from the ACP is to enroll in another government program.

The remaining government program for internet assistance is the Lifeline program. The Lifeline program works similarly to the ACP, however, it has stricter eligibility requirements and offers a smaller benefit. Not all ACP participants will qualify for Lifeline, but if you qualified for the ACP through one of these programs, you likely qualify for the Lifeline program as well:

  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Veterans Pension and Survivors Benefits
  • Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA)
  • Medicaid
  • Tribal Programs for Native Americans

Lifeline also offers benefits based on income, but the threshold for Lifeline is 135% of the federal poverty guideline, rather than the 200% needed for the ACP. To check your eligibility for the program, visit the Lifeline website.

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What happens when the ACP ends?

April is currently the last fully-funded month of the ACP, during which those in the program will receive their full benefit. In May, participants will only receive a partial payment or $7–$16 toward their monthly internet bill, rather than the full $30. After May, no one in the program will receive any benefits unless Congress chooses to fund the program once again.

Once the program has ended, those on plans wholly covered by the ACP plan will lose internet service completely unless they opt-in to receiving undiscounted service from their provider. ACP customers can also opt-out of their internet service at the end of the ACP.

To avoid an interruption in service, you must do the following:

  • Acknowledge receiving the disclosures about the ACP ending
  • Consent to receive internet service without the ACP discount
  • Pay your full bill for the upcoming month

You can also choose to switch to a different provider, or cancel your connection entirely, though we’d suggest looking into other free and low-cost options first.

Other providers with low-income programs

One of the reasons that the ACP worked so well is that the program was nearly universal—all major internet providers participated in the program and had an incentive to tailor their own plans to work better with the subsidy it provided. Many ISPs have stepped up to fill the gap left by the end of the ACP, but while their requirements and benefits are similar, there’s some important differences between these programs.

If Hughesnet plans no longer fit your budget without the ACP benefit, here are some other internet providers with affordable internet plans:

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Other options from Hughesnet

If your current Hughesnet plan no longer fits your budget without the ACP benefit, here are some other options.

Hughesnet plans and pricing

PackagePriceSpeedConnection typeOrder online
Select$49.99/mo. for 12 mo.Up to 50MbpsGSO Satellite
Elite$64.99/mo. for 12 mo.Up to 100MbpsGSO Satellite
Fusion$94.99/mo. for 12 mo.Up to 100MbpsGSO Satellite/Wireless Hybrid

Additional resources

If you’d like to learn more about low-income programs and other ways to find affordable internet, there are lots of other articles on to help you learn about the topic.

Author -

Peter Christiansen writes about satellite internet, rural connectivity, livestreaming, and parental controls for Peter holds a PhD in communication from the University of Utah and has been working in tech for over 15 years as a computer programmer, game developer, filmmaker, and writer. His writing has been praised by outlets like Wired, Digital Humanities Now, and the New Statesman.

Editor - Jessica Brooksby

Jessica loves bringing her passion for the written word and her love of tech into one space at She works with the team’s writers to revise strong, user-focused content so every reader can find the tech that works for them. Jessica has a bachelor’s degree in English from Utah Valley University and seven years of creative and editorial experience. Outside of work, she spends her time gaming, reading, painting, and buying an excessive amount of Legend of Zelda merchandise.