Updated ACP Enrollment Performance Tool Includes ACP Risk Score

Benton Institute for Broadband & Society

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Digital Beat

Updated ACP Enrollment Performance Tool Includes ACP Risk Score

John Horrigan

Today we are releasing our latest version of the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) Enrollment Performance Tool, which updates data through February 2024. We introduce a new feature in this version—the ACP Risk Score for each zip code included in the tool. This score indicates the degree to which households in a given zip code are at risk of losing or reducing internet connectivity should the ACP benefit lapse. A high score (on a scale of 0 to 100) is a sign that households in that zip code may be more likely to lose internet connectivity than households in areas with a lower score. If a zip code area has a risk score above 70, it stands a good chance of having its households face significant disruption from ACP's demise. Losing connectivity could mean giving up home internet service completely or choosing between having a wireline or wireless subscription plan.

As states and localities plan for Digital Equity Act funds and continue to focus on Broadband Equity Access and Deployment (BEAD) investments, the disruption in home broadband subscription brought about by ACP’s end will be important to understand. The ACP Risk Score aims to provide a means to examine which areas are likely to be hardest hit.

In addition to the ACP Risk Score, the latest version of the ACP Enrollment Performance Tool has the same features as in prior iterations. The newly updated tool covers some 23.27 million enrolled ACP households, the total number of households signed up for ACP when enrollment stopped on February 7, 2024. The ACP Tool still places zip code areas into performance categories based on comparisons of actual ACP enrollment to predicted enrollment. The predictions come from a statistical model that uses American Community Survey data (updated in this latest release to 5-year 2018-2022 estimates) and other data to bring socio-economic data to bear on understanding ACP enrollment patterns.

The ACP Risk Score is built from several socio-economic variables in the tool’s statistical model that capture community-wide challenges eligible ACP households may face. The ACP Risk Score captures in zip code areas the share of households:

  • experiencing “rent burden,” (i.e., households paying more than 30% of their income for rent)
  • with foreign-born individuals
  • with unemployed individuals
  • whose annual incomes are $15,000 or less
  • that have moved in the past year.

These metrics, collectively, are strong predictors of ACP enrollment. For instance, the ACP statistical model shows a positive link between areas with high “rent burden” and ACP enrollment. This makes sense, in that low-income households with high housing costs are likely to embrace a subsidy that offers some relief from the cost of a household necessity such as broadband service. Once that subsidy goes away, many of these households may face a choice of whether to keep service—a choice made more difficult if a rent-burdened household has other risk factors (e.g., unemployment). The ACP Risk Score combines the risk factors noted above into a single number for users.

Think of these metrics in the ACP Risk Score as measures of the social and economic headwinds households faced as they made the choice to subscribe to ACP. These headwinds will persist if ACP goes away—and communities with the greatest challenges may suffer most in terms of the percentage of people who lose home internet connectivity.

John B. Horrigan is a Benton Senior Fellow and a national expert on technology adoption, digital inclusion, and evaluating the outcomes and impacts of programs designed to promote communications technology adoption and use.

See These ACP Resources

The Benton Institute for Broadband & Society is a non-profit organization dedicated to ensuring that all people in the U.S. have access to competitive, High-Performance Broadband regardless of where they live or who they are. We believe communication policy - rooted in the values of access, equity, and diversity - has the power to deliver new opportunities and strengthen communities.

© Benton Institute for Broadband & Society 2024. Redistribution of this email publication - both internally and externally - is encouraged if it includes this copyright statement.

For subscribe/unsubscribe info, please email headlinesATbentonDOTorg

Kevin Taglang

Kevin Taglang
Executive Editor, Communications-related Headlines
Benton Institute
for Broadband & Society
1041 Ridge Rd, Unit 214
Wilmette, IL 60091
headlines AT benton DOT org

Share this edition:

Benton Institute for Broadband & Society Benton Institute for Broadband & Society Benton Institute for Broadband & Society

Benton Institute for Broadband & Society

Broadband Delivers Opportunities and Strengthens Communities

By John Horrigan.