As part of the President’s Investing in America agenda, a key component of Bidenomics, the Biden-Harris Administration has made historic progress towards lowering costs – including internet costs – for American families across the country. The Affordable Connectivity Program, enacted under President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law as the largest internet affordability program in our nation’s history, is now helping 23 million households – 1 in 6 households across America – save $30-$75 each on their monthly internet bills. And, because the Biden-Harris Administration worked with internet providers to offer high-speed internet plans that are fully covered by the Affordable Connectivity Program, most eligible households can now get high-speed internet for free.
However, without action from Congress, this program will sunset this spring and millions of Americans may no longer be able to afford high-speed internet service. On October 25, 2023, the Biden-Harris Administration sent Congress a supplemental request for $6 billion to extend funding for the Affordable Connectivity Program. Tomorrow, the FCC will be pausing new enrollments in the program. This means that households that can’t afford high-speed internet and haven’t yet signed up will stay stuck on the wrong side of the digital divide—unless Congress acts. The Biden-Harris Administration continues to call on Congress to pass legislation that would extend free and discounted high-speed internet for eligible households through 2024.
In the 21st century, affordable, reliable high-speed internet is critical in order to access education, healthcare, and work, engage in precision agriculture, and keep in touch with loved ones. Still, too many are left without high-speed internet because they lack the infrastructure or are inhibited by high costs. In particular, these inequities impact underserved communities, rural communities, veterans, and older Americans where the lack of affordable, reliable high-speed internet contributes to significant economic, health and other disparities.
Thanks to the Affordable Connectivity Program, the Administration has made historic progress toward closing the digital divide for communities that have been left behind for too long.
Key stats on enrollment include the following:
- Nearly half of the households benefitting from ACP are military families.
- Four million seniors and 10 million Americans over the age of 50 benefit from this program every month.
- 1-in-4 households participating in the Affordable Connectivity Program are African American and 1-in-4 households are Latino.
- The Affordable Connectivity Program provides an enhanced monthly subsidy to 320,000 households on Tribal lands, where high-speed internet is generally more expensive.