Official State of Iowa Website

Telephone and Internet

Help paying for telephone and/or internet service  

Options to explore if you need assistance paying for telephone and/or internet are Lifeline and the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). If you qualify for Lifeline assistance, you can get assistance from both programs, but know that you need to enroll in the ACP with a participating provider. Icon of a hand typing on a keyboard 

Lifeline: Assistance Program for Phone and Internet Service 

Lifeline is a federal program that is meant to make phone and internet service more affordable for low-income households by providing a monthly discount. You can use your Lifeline benefit for phone, internet, or a bundled phone and internet service.  

You can qualify for Lifeline based on either your income or your use of programs like SNAP or Medicaid. If you qualify, your household can receive up to a $9.25 per month discount on service (or up to a $34.25 discount for those living on qualifying Tribal lands). Note that only one discount is allowed per household.  

You can apply online, through your phone or internet company, or through the mail. The Lifeline Support website provides additional details on applying, as well as helpful videos on the process.  

If you qualify, you will have 90 days to choose a phone or internet company and sign up for service. If you already have service through a phone or internet company, you can also ask that company to apply your Lifeline benefit to your service. You can search for service providers here.   

The Affordable Connectivity Program  

From the Affordable Connectivity Program website:  

The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) is a U.S. government program run by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to help low-income households pay for internet service and connected devices like laptops or tablets. 

You are likely eligible if your household’s income is below 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines, or if you or someone you live with currently receives a government benefit like SNAP, Medicaid, SSI, WIC, Pell Grant, or Free and Reduced-Price Lunch. 

If your household is eligible, you could receive: 

  • Up to a $30/month discount on your internet service 

  • Up to a $75/month discount if your household is on qualifying Tribal lands 

  • A one-time discount of up to $100 for a laptop, tablet, or desktop computer (with a co-payment of more than $10 but less than $50) 

Only one monthly service discount and one device discount is allowed per household. To receive the connected device discount, consumers need to enroll in the ACP with a participating provider that offers connected devices. (Note: not all internet companies offer device discounts.) The internet company will provide the discount to the consumer. 

Telephone programs for Iowans who have difficulty hearing or speaking  

The Iowa Utilities Board oversees three programs that help Iowans who are deaf, hard of hearing, deaf-blind, or have difficulty speaking with telephone accessibility. The three programs are Relay Iowa, Telecommunications Access Iowa, and the National Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program. Information icon

Relay Iowa and other relay services 

Relay Iowa service is available by dialing 711. Relay Iowa services are provided by Hamilton Relay. Relay Iowa includes several different services to help users communicate over the phone. Relay Iowa allows users to complete a Customer Profile form to indicate relay call preferences.  

Both in and outside of Iowa, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) provides Video Relay Service and Internet Relay Service.  

Specialized equipment 

The other two programs offered through the Iowa Utilities Board, Telecommunications Access Iowa and the National Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program, relate to equipment purchases. 

The Telecommunications Access Iowa (TAI) is a voucher program that provides vouchers to qualified Iowans to purchase telephone equipment that would make communicating over the telephone easier for the user. The TAI website walks users through the steps to apply for a TAI voucher. These vouchers cover 95% of the average cost of the equipment. The program does have income limits, which are listed on this page. Vouchers can be used at registered dealers. For more information on TAI, see Iowa Legal Aid’s page “Help with Phone Equipment for Iowans with a Hearing Disability.” 

The Iowa Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program is for people with combined hearing and vision loss, and in addition to providing specialized telecommunication tools, provides training on how to use them. You can apply for the program through the iCanConnect website. The iCanConnect website also provides more information on the eligibility requirements, including income limits. Iowa’s program is administered by the Helen Keller National Center, Great Plains Regional Office.     

Related Iowa Laws

Iowa Code chapter 477C 

Iowa Administrative Code chapter 199-37