More than 20 million households in the United States are now receiving discounts on internet service through the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), a federal initiative aimed at bridging the digital divide. The program offers $30-a-month subsidies for eligible households, with higher subsidies of up to $75 per month for those living on tribal lands. This program is designed to address the cost barrier to reliable internet service for low-income families.
US residents can qualify for the ACP if they meet certain criteria, such as participating in government assistance packages like SNAP or Medicaid, having a profits beneath a positive level, or currently receiving federal Pell grants.
Program Growth and Impact
The ACP became hooked up through the bipartisan infrastructure regulation almost years in the past to update an in advance pandemic-generation useful resource initiative. The program has been growing rapidly, with more than 10 million households signing up just months after the infrastructure bill became law. The program’s reputation caused extra than sixteen million families taking advantage of the ACP as of February, saving a complete of $500 million according to month on net service.
Challenges and Future Outlook
Despite its success, the ACP’s enrollment figures represent only around 40% of the estimated 50 million eligible households in the US. Consumer advocacy group Common Sense Media suggests that there is still potential to reach more eligible households. The ACP’s future sustainability is uncertain, as it relies on the initial $14 billion allocated by Congress. Analysts expect this system walking out of price range in 2024, doubtlessly pressuring Congress to increase its funding.
Apart from the ACP, the US government has also taken other measures to expand internet access. A separate initiative referred to as the Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment (BEAD) application overseen through the Commerce Departments set to provide billions of dollars in infrastructure funding to states, encouraging broadband expansion across the country. All US states and territories have received some funding through this program.