Internet/Broadband

Coverage of how Internet service is deployed, used and regulated.

What's Next for the Affordable Connectivity Program?

As Congress found in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, access to affordable, reliable, high-speed broadband is essential to full participation in modern life in the United States. The aim of the Affordable Connectivity Program is to ensure broadband is affordable for any household no matter its income. Although the Federal Communications Commission has met an incredibly tight timeline to adopt rules and launch the new Affordable Connectivity Program, there is still a great deal of work to be done. Here's a quick look at what remains on the FCC's agenda.

Introducing the Affordable Connectivity Program

Congress created the Affordable Connectivity Program through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, building on the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program created earlier in 2021. For the EBB Program, Congress provided the Federal Communications Commission with $3.2 billion to make monthly broadband service bills more affordable for low-income households. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act adds an additional $14.2 billion for the Affordable Connectivity Program, while leaving in place the EBB Program's basic framework.

FCC Releases Affordable Connectivity Program Rules

In this Order, the Federal Communications Commission adopts final rules for the Affordable Connectivity Program, which builds upon the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program (EBB Program), to offer eligible low-income households discounts off the cost of broadband service and connected devices.

Rosenworcel & Davidson: With Leadership in Place, NTIA and FCC Must Now Work Together to Close the Digital Divide

On January 11, the U.S. Senate voted 60-31 to confirm the nomination of Alan Davidson to be the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information. Once sworn in, Davidson will lead the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), which is President Joe Biden's principal adviser on telecommunications and information policy.

It’s Time to Call the Vote on Gigi Sohn for a Fully Functioning FCC

President Biden has renominated Gigi Sohn [Senior Fellow and Public Advocate at the Benton Institute for Broadband & Society] to be a commissioner on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). With Alan Davidson confirmed to lead the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), it is critical that we have a fully functioning FCC to implement much of the work Congress has directed the two agencies to do.

Your Chance to Weigh in on the Future of the Universal Service Fund

In November 2021, President Joe Biden signed into law the largest U.S. investment ever in broadband access, affordability, and adoption. With $65 billion flowing to broadband, Congress also asked the Federal Communications Commission to determine what impact the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will have in achieving universal service goals for broadband. This week, the FCC launched a proceeding seeking public comment on how to best make sure everyone in the U.S. can use broadband.

FCC Initiates Proceeding on Future of Universal Service

The Federal Communications Commission has initiated a proceeding seeking comment on issues related to the future of the Universal Service Fund in light of the broadband investments in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The Infrastructure Act includes the largest ever federal investment in broadband, totaling approximately $65 billion.

Broadband & Democracy

Technology is a tool, a tool that can be used, if distributed equitably, to improve society. At the Benton Institute for Broadband & Society, we are not for broadband just for broadband’s sake. In the "Broadband & Society" part of our name, we recognize that in our increasingly digital lives, equitable access to broadband and a just society are inseparable. Broadband's potential, its promise, is not just quicker communication, but improving education, healthcare, job training and acquisition, economic development, delivering government services, and so much more.

Affordability and the Digital Divide

Understanding affordability of internet service and its role in adoption are crucial for developing solutions to close the digital divide.The goals of this study were first to understand the barriers to connectivity and efficacy of low-cost internet service options; and second, to use the findings to inform digital inclusion policies, advocacy efforts, and other initiatives that aim to drive digital equity. The findings were informed by a national survey on broadband adoption among low- and lower-middle income households.

An Evolving Level of Service

How will the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act impact universal service policy and, specifically, the Lifeline program? The new law sets up a transition from the Emergency Broadband Benefit, a program that is only six months old, to the new, more permanent Affordable Connectivity Program.