The Massachusetts Broadband Institute (MBI) launched Mass Internet Connect (MIC) through a partnership with the MassHire Department of Career Services, and the MassHire Workforce Development System. Mass Internet Connect was a component of the Baker-Polito Administration’s comprehensive Economic Recovery Plan and was officially launched on Tuesday, January 5th, 2021.
Unemployed Massachusetts residents with technology barriers that were working with MassHire and were actively seeking a job were being connected with the tools, services, and internet connections necessary to “get people back to work.” MassHire operates 29 one-stop career centers and is committed to increasing meaningful career opportunities for job seekers and expanding the talent pool for businesses seeking trained, skilled employees. Counselors at MassHire Career Centers throughout the Commonwealth worked with unemployed job seekers to determine their eligibility for the MIC program and connect them with the appropriate benefits.
The MIC program continued to support unemployed job seekers through May 31, 2023.
Devices and Digital Literacy Tools and Resources:
- MassHire customers that lack access to a computer will be supported through the Chromebook Device Subsidy Program. (download program brochure)
- MassHire customers that need access to digital literacy tools and resources will be connected by MassHire to those resources.
- MassHire customers enrolled in the MIC program as of May 31, 2021 will continue to receive internet subsidies funded by MBI for service with Comcast, Charter, or Verizon.
- MassHire customers enrolled in the MIC program after June 1, 2021 will be referred to the federal Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP).
FCC's Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP)
MassHire customers that are encountering difficulties affording internet service (and were not previously enrolled in the MIC program as of May 31, 2021), will be referred to the Federal Communication Commission's (FCC) Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP).
- With the passage of the Infrastructure Bill by Congress, the ACP replaced the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) as a long-term federal subsidy program.
- Starting on December 31, 2021, households that meet the federal program requirements have been able to enroll in the ACP to receive a monthly federal subsidy from a participating internet service provider.
- The maximum monthly amount of the federal ACP subsidy is $30. Households residing on tribal lands and in “high cost areas” as designated by the federal government are eligible for a higher subsidy amount.
- The ACP is long-term program, created by Congress to replace the temporary EBB program, to make access to broadband services more affordable for everyday needs including work, school and healthcare. The EBB was a temporary program launched by the FCC to help eligible households during the COVID-19 pandemic by providing a monthly discount to apply toward broadband service.
- The ACP provides a discount of up to $30 per month toward broadband service for eligible households and up to $75 per month for households on qualifying Tribal lands.
Households are eligible for the ACP if one member of the household meets at least one of the criteria below:
- Has an income that is at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines for a household of that size;
- Participates in certain assistance programs, such as Supplemental Assistance Nutrition Program, Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income, Federal Public Housing Assistance, Veterans Pension and Survivors Benefit or the FCC’s Lifeline program;
- Is in the free and reduced-price school lunch program or the school breakfast program, including through the USDA Community Eligibility Provision;
- Has received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year;
- Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating provider's existing low-income program (subject to approval by the FCC); or
- Receives assistance through the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children.
- Households participating in the EBB were required to reverify their eligibility by March 1, 2022 if they previously qualified for EBB benefits because a member of the household met one of the criteria below:
* For eligible unemployed job seekers who are not eligible to participate in the ACP program, MassHire will provide access to a Verizon jetpack and data plan through December 31, 2022. Unemployed job seekers must show proof that they applied and were denied benefits under the ACP Program. Please contact your MassHire Career Center for further information.
- Experienced a substantial loss of income through job loss or furlough since February 29, 2020 and the household had a total income in 2020 at or below $99,000 for single filers and $198,000 for joint filers; or
- Met the eligibility criteria for a participating provider’s COVID-19 program.