Discussion Paper

How to Bridge the Digital Divide? Assessing the Affordable Connectivity Program

Abstract: Last year's Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) allocated $65 billion toward addressing disparities in broadband access across the nation. A key component of the legislation, the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), subsidizes broadband subscriptions for low-income households. However, participation in the program has been low so far, suggesting that the ACP may not yet be reaching many of the underserved households that the legislation targeted. This article explores the background of the Affordable Connectivity Program and its participation levels across the Fifth District in its first year of operation. The challenges that small internet service providers (ISPs) face enrolling people in the program and adhering to its regulatory requirements bring to light an opportunity: Reducing the administrative burden and providing additional training and advertising could enable higher participation in the ACP.

Keywords: Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act; broadband access; Affordable Connectivity Program;

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Bibliographic Information

Provider: Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond

Part of Series: Regional Matters

Publication Date: 2022-09-15