17 million homes sign up for the FCC’s affordable broadband program

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The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced this recently 17 million people have signed up for the Affordable connectivity program (ACP), the a monthly discount for people on their broadband Bills.

We wrote about the ACP a couple of times in the past few monthsbut the latest enrollment count comes shortly after the FCC announced it would raise awareness about the program.

The AKP was created within the framework of the non-partisan infrastructure law and an earlier version of it was created amid the early days of the COVID-19 pandemicas it highlighted the country’s long tradition digital divide. The program offers monthly discounts eligible Americans for their broadband bills and offers a one-time discount for people too buy devices to help them get online.

“To date, seventeen million homes have signed up for the Affordable Connectivity Program. No small thing. But we don’t stop there. We continue to look for ways to reach more people who could benefit from his support.” Jessica Rosenworcel said in a statement. “Our launch of application extensions is part of our ongoing work to improve the consumer experience of the program so more families can get the support they need to get online and stay online.”

The agency said it had “a number of improvements‘ to help people sign up for the program, including Reducing the steps and simplifying the language in the enrollment process.

Some of the Household eligibility criteria Program includes but is not limited to: enrolling a child in SNAP, Medicaid, Federal Public Housing Assistance, WIC, or Lifeline, or enrolling a child in a free or reduced-price lunchtime program.

Why it matters

There are talked a lot about narrowing the country’s digital divide. This divide includes that who have access to the internetbut also whether they have access to affordable internet or not.

While physical access to the internet tends to to get a lot of focusthe cost of broadband is too another barrier that prevents people from accessing the Internet – a central part of everyday life. The ACP can help with this, as a survey in 2021 showed 26% of Americans worried about not being able to pay their broadband bill.

As word spreads about the program, more people sign up. That is a good thingsince another study in 2021 found this 30 million people who were eligible for the earlier version of the ACP (called the Emergency Broadband Benefit) had not signed up for it.

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Jaclyn Diaz

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