Over 10 million US households are enrolled in the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), a $14.2 billion program that provides a monthly broadband subsidy to qualifying low-income homes, the White House announced today.
The Affordable Connectivity Program, funded by the bipartisan infrastructure law (BIL) signed by President Biden in November, is the successor to the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB): a temporary subsidy program passed as part of a larger COVID-19 aid package.
Under the new program, intended to be permanent, a household can receive up to $30 off their monthly broadband bill (up to $75 for households on tribal land), as well as a one-time $100 discount on a device.
Both affordability programs have been managed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Of the 10 million households participating in the Affordable Connectivity Program, roughly 9 million are existing enrollments from the EBB that rolled over. Since the launch of the new version of the program in January, around 1 million additional households have enrolled.
‘Meaningful’ provider participation
According to the FCC’s database tracking ACP participation, over 1,200 providers have signed up to participate in the Affordable Connectivity Program so far.
While some ISPs had sought to use the prior benefit program to “upsell” customers into higher-priced plans, the new program prohibits such tactics through its rule-making. It also seeks to improve outreach efforts both in coordination with ISPs and community organizations.
To that end, while the 10 million household milestone is significant, it might represent a far smaller number than those actually eligible. BroadbandNow released data in December showing that roughly 30 million US households were eligible for the Emergency Broadband Benefit.