Legislation

Understanding and Driving Enrollment in the Affordable Connectivity Program

Fitting the monthly cost of a broadband subscription into a low-income household budget is difficult, to say the least, because of the costs of competing necessities like lodging, food, and healthcare. These financial pressures—and unexpected expenses—keep too many people in the U.S. from subscribing to home broadband service—or cause them to drop service at times to make ends meet. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Congress recognized these obstacles for low-income people and created a program—first called the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program—to reduce the monthly costs of connectivity.

Biden-Harris Administration Announces Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri and Utah to Receive Nearly $1 Billion in American Rescue Plan Funds to Increase Access to Affordable, High-Speed Internet

The Department of Treasury approved broadband projects in an additional six states under the American Rescue Plan’s Capital Projects Fund Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri and Utah. Together, these states will use their funding to connect more than 180,000 homes and businesses to affordable, high-speed internet.

It’s No Time to Disarm in the War Against the Digital Divide

The pandemic spurred policymakers and community leaders around the country to create programs to connect those without home broadband service or computers. These programs have had an impact. New government data show sharp increases in broadband and computer adoption in the 2019-to-2021 time frame. Initiatives such as the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) have helped address “subscription vulnerability” for low-income households. With progress evident, it is time to extend and build on the ACP and local affordability programs.

FCC Releases New National Broadband Maps

The Federal Communications Commission released a pre-production draft of its new National Broadband Map. The map will display specific location-level information about broadband services available throughout the country – a significant step forward from the census block level data previously collected. This release of the draft map kicks off the public challenge processes that will play a critical role in improving the accuracy of the map.

Broadband Mapping By and For Communities

On Monday, September 26, Benton Institute for Broadband & Society Director of Research and Fellowships Dr. Revati Prasad hosted an online panel discussion, From the Ground Up: Broadband Mapping By and for Communities, on how communities and states are collecting data on local broadband availability as the Federal Communications Commission rolls out the Broadband Data Collection (BDC) program.

Treasury Announces Four Additional Capital Projects Fund Awards to Increase Access to Affordable, High-Speed Internet

The US Department of the Treasury announced the approval of broadband projects in four additional states under the American Rescue Plan’s Capital Projects Fund in President Biden’s American Rescue Plan: Alabama, Kentucky, Nevada, and Texas. Together, these states will use their funding to connect over 292,000 homes and businesses to affordable, high-speed internet.

Comcast Partners with National Skills Coalition to Close the Digital Divide

National Skills Coalition (NSC) announced a partnership with Comcast to educate local, state, and national decision-makers about the benefits of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to promote digital equity and opportunity nationwide. The initiative aims to help close the digital skill divide that is currently limiting educational and employment opportunities for nearly 50 million Americans.

Closing the Digital Divide Requires More Than a Quick Fix

In the summer of 2023, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) will begin distributing hundreds of millions, and in some cases billions, of funding to states as part of the $42 billion Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program. Expectedly, states are busy creating and staffing broadband offices in anticipation of the BEAD and digital equity monies. Blinded by a nationwide broadband fever, however, some broadband leaders have proclaimed that states will entirely close, bridge, or eliminate the digital divide in the coming years.

Best Practices for Broadband Fabric Challenges Announced

The Federal Communications Commission's Broadband Data Task Force (Task Force) announces recommended best practices for submitting bulk challenges to the most recent version of the Broadband Serviceable Location Fabric (Fabric) data.

Members of Congress to NTIA and FCC: Don't Delay BEAD for Better Broadband Maps

We write with great appreciation of your efforts to implement the historic provisions of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to make high-speed internet accessible and affordable for all Americans.