The White House trumpeted its broadband subsidy bonanza Monday (February 14) in an event featuring Federal Communications Commission chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel; Vice President Kamala Harris, who President Joe Biden put in charge of closing the digital divide; and senior adviser Mitch Landrieu, the broadband buildout czar.
The milepost being marked was 10 million households enrolling in the American Connectivity Program (ACP). That was the $14.2 billion subsidy that replaced the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) COVID-19 broadband aid program.
“Thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, millions of families who previously could not get online or struggled to pay for this modern-day necessity are now connected,” the White House said, adding, “affordable broadband remains out of reach for too many.”
“No family should have to choose between paying for gas or groceries and their monthly internet bill, especially when a connection is essential for work, school, health care and more," said Rosenworcel. "But for far too many, the cost of internet service makes the connections we need for everyday life, out of reach,” said Rosenworcel. “Now with more than 10 million households enrolled, we’ve proven the need for this program, and we are continuing our efforts to ensure no community, no household, no one is left offline.”
Under the ACP, low-income residents can apply for up to a $30-per-month subsidy — down from $50 per month in the EBB — with residents of tribal lands getting up to $75. There is also a one-time $100 equipment subsidy to apply to laptops or desktops or tablets, but not phones.
The White House Monday also encouraged the public to “spread the word about the program, including by printing out flyers and fact sheets and handing them out at community events or sharing digital versions on social media.“ ■
Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.
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