Hernan Galperin

Evaluating the Impact of the Affordable Connectivity Program

The likely expiration of the Affordable Connectivity Program, the largest ever connectivity support program for low-income households, invites a discussion about the impact of the program and what alternative policy tools are available to promote digital equity. This study offers a preliminary assessment of the ACP’s goal to promote fixed broadband among lowincome households.

2023 California Statewide Digital Equity Survey

This report presents the main findings from the 2023 Statewide Survey on Broadband Adoption Survey.

The Future of the Affordable Connectivity Program

A look at potential changes to the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) eligibility criteria based on participation in social benefits programs such as Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (SNAP), Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Public Assistance Income (PAP). These potential changes would have broad impacts since the National Verifier (NV) uses program participation rather than income to confirm eligibility for over 90 percent of ACP applications.

Analyzing the Impact of Potential Changes to the ACP Eligibility Criteria

Congress is discussing a number of different scenarios to continue funding the Affordable Connectivity Program once the remaining funds are depleted, which is projected to happen in the first half of 2024. Several of the scenarios being considered involve changes to the current eligibility criteria. Here we examine the potential impact of lowering the household income eligibility threshold, currently set at 200 percent of the federal poverty line (FPL).

Broadband for all: The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) benefits households across party lines

Discussions about funding for social programs are too often framed along predictable partisan lines. However, the reality on the ground is frequently more complex, and the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) is no exception.

The Benton Institute ACP Performance Tool

The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) is at an inflection point. Launched in early 2022, ACP provides 17 million households up to $30/month in subsidies to offset the cost of broadband. But the program faces two critical challenges. First, less than a third of eligible households currently participate in the program—mainly because the people who could benefit most from the subsidy are unaware that it exists. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC), local governments, and digital equity groups are stepping up efforts to improve ACP awareness and participation.

Half of ACP-Eligible Households Still Unaware of the Program

After a year of operation, half of all households eligible for the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) internet subsidy are unaware of the benefit. A January 2023 survey of low-income households finds that over 50% say they have never heard of the program or do not know anything about it. Although many eligible households are unaware of ACP, the survey points to ways in which policymakers and community leaders can encourage enrollment. First, outreach can make a difference.

Estimating participation in the Affordable Connectivity Program

How can policymakers best estimate Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) eligibility and participation rates? The key finding here is that using 200% of the Federal Poverty Level as the only eligibility criteria significantly undercounts eligible households and therefore inflates participation rates. Further, the undercount varies significantly across states (which we hypothesize is linked to whether states expanded Medicaid eligibility after 2010).

A Roadmap for Affordable Broadband: Lessons from the Emergency Broadband Benefit

The phase-out of the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program (EBB) and the transition to the new Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) represents an opportunity to take stock of the EBB program’s impact, and adjust key parameters to enhance the impact of the ACP.

High-speed internet is as essential as water and electricity

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act signed into law by President Joe Biden on November 15, 2021, was hailed by the White House and advocates as a historic investment to improve internet access in America. As a researcher who studies internet policy and digital inequality, I believe the infrastructure plan should be celebrated as a historic moment for broadband, but not so much because of the money it brings to the table. Rather, it is because of the way the law treats internet access in America.