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FCC Program Cuts Broadband Costs For 20 Million Americans

The Affordable Connectivity Program provides households that qualify with a discount on broadband service and devices. The program results from the bipartisan federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which provided $14.2 billion to modify the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program into the Affordable Connectivity Program. This new Federal Communications Commission (FCC) benefit program ensures that all households can afford the broadband they need for work, school, and health care.

With an estimated one in 10 Americans unable to afford internet services, it’s important that these households have a broadband connection as the internet has become a de facto part of everyday American life. 

It’s needed for students to complete their homework and for working parents to be able to do their jobs remotely. The internet is also used for many health care concerns, including checking doctor’s reports and even hooking up certain tracking health devices such as heart Holter monitors.

Photo Courtesy Lifeline Support

The Affordable Connectivity Program allows participants to receive a one-time discount of up to $100 to buy a desktop computer, laptop, or tablet from a list of participating providers. Participants must contribute more than $10, but less than $50, to the purchase price.

Eligible households will also receive an internet plan of at least 100 megabits per second of speed for no more than $30 per month. Most major United States providers, such as Mediacom, Optimum, Cox, Xfinity, AT&T, and Verizon, are a part of the program.

Video Courtesy Federal Communications Commission 

To qualify, households must have an income at or below 200% of the national poverty line. Any individuals who participate in assistance programs such as Medicaid, WIC, Lifeline, and Federal Public Housing Assistance, as well as students who receive benefits for school breakfast or lunch programs, also automatically qualify.

To date, more than 20 million American households have signed up out of the nearly 50 million Americans who are eligible.

Photo Courtesy Lifeline Support

“For a long time, closing the digital divide focused on one part of the equation — the lack of physical infrastructure to get online. But we know that for many people, even when there was technically access, the cost to get online was too high,” Jessica Rosenworcel, FCC Chairwoman, said in a statement. “Enrolling more than 20 million eligible households is no small feat.”

Interested participants can apply and enroll here. It is essential that approved applicants use the internet services; otherwise, they will be canceled. The Affordable Connectivity Program has no enroll-by date and is now funded through 2024.

Photo Courtesy Federal Communications Commission

Whether it’s improving economic mobility through education, accessing telehealth and telemedicine, or simply enjoying all the news, weather, and entertainment the Internet puts at our fingertips, it’s undeniable that having the Internet at home, a computer, and the skills to use it are truly life-changing,” Broderick D. Johnson, executive vice president of public policy and executive vice president of digital equity at Comcast, said in a blog post.


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