There are gaps in the FCC Broadband Discount Program’s Enrollment

While Federal Communications Commission (FCC) broadband discount program has attracted more than 7 million people to sign up, a new report finds that millions of eligible people are not signing up for the program.

Earlier this year, the FCC rolled out its Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB), which offers eligible people a monthly discount on their internet bill. The program, originally part of the coronavirus relief package, will be expanded — and renamed — once it is granted. extra $14 billion to continue indefinitely in the recently signed infrastructure bill. The new program, the Affordable Connect Program, will monthly discount from $50 per month to $30 per month.

EBB is available to many people. Applying for SNAP, Medicaid, Lifeline, or having a child enrolled in a reduced-price school meal program are just some of the criteria needed to apply.

Although the number of subscribers increases steadily every month – FCC reported about 1 million more subscribers to the program every time they announce an update — a new report from Broadband Now shows that there are still millions of eligible households that have not yet benefited from the program.

States like South Dakota, North Dakota, Alaska, New Hampshire and Wyoming have the largest gap between the estimated number of households in the state eligible for the program and the number of homes actually registered, according to Broadband Now.

For example, Broadband Now notes that New Hampshire has an estimated 66,751 homes that will qualify, but only 3,454 have registered. States like North Dakota estimate 143,109 homes will be eligible, with just 9,413 people applying.

The report notes that some of the vulnerabilities are due to the lack of availability of high-speed internet, such as in Alaska and also the Dakotas, but that New Hampshire has “widespread availability of gigabit internet packages” and there is still some space left. way about those who enroll.

Overall, the report estimates that up to 30 million people eligible for the program are still unregistered.

“Our view is that additional marketing of the Affordable Connectivity Program, especially in undersubscribed areas, is the best way to reduce the affordability component of the digital divide. ,” Tyler Cooper, editor-in-chief of Broadband Now, wrote in the report, later adding: “To encourage more adoption and reduce the digital divide, the federal government should do complementary marketing Adds the Affordable Connectivity Program, which will replace the Emergency Broadband Benefit in 2022. In particular, states with lower adoption rates will receive more marketing. ”

Meanwhile, states like Kentucky and Louisiana already had a large percentage of homes eligible to apply, with 33.89% of eligible homes applying for the program.

You can read all of the Broadband Now reports here.

* First published: December 14, 2021, 10:23 a.m. CST

Andrew Wyrich

Andrew Wyrich is the Daily Dot’s deputy technology editor. Andrew has written for USA Today, NorthJersey.com, and other newspapers and websites. His work has been recognized by the Association of Silurians, Investigative Reporters & Editors (IRE) and the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ).

https://www.dailydot.com/debug/fcc-broadband-ebb-gaps-eligible-signed-up-report/ There are gaps in the FCC Broadband Discount Program’s Enrollment

Mike Sullivan

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