Kid on phone doing schoolwork

Over two thirds of recipients of Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) funding had no internet connectivity or inconsistent connectivity prior to participation in the program, according to a survey conducted by the Universal Service Administration Company (USAC). The news comes as the nation gets set to phase out the ACP program.

Another important finding from the survey, cited in a press release issued today by the FCC: 77% say that losing ACP benefits would force them to change their broadband plans or drop Internet service completely.

The ACP program provides up to $30 per month to low-income families ($75 on Tribal Lands) and $100 towards a device if the household contributes between $10 and $50 to the purchase price. About 23 million households now participate in the program.

“Thanks to today’s survey data, leaders making the decisions about ACP’s future know one thing for certain: if we want to close our nation’s digital divide, the Affordable Connectivity Program is not nice-to-have, it’s need-to-have,” said FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel in a prepared statement. “We’ve come too far to turn back now.”

Other findings from the survey:

  • 47% of all respondents and 53% of rural respondents reported having either zero connectivity or relying solely on mobile service prior to enrolling in the ACP.
  • 72% said they use their ACP internet service to schedule or attend healthcare appointments and 48% use the service to complete work or apply for jobs.
  • 75% of 18- to 24-year-old subscribers use their broadband connection to do school work

Today’s press release about the ACP is the latest example of actions that FCC Chair Jessica Rosenworcel has taken in an effort to persuade federal legislators to save the program by making additional funding available for it. Rosenworcel has made it clear that she does not want the program to end.

Previously, she released data about how much every state and congressional district stands to lose in ACP funding — information that has been widely reported by news media nationwide.

Perhaps the commission hopes to achieve similar results with the information in today’s release.

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