As part of our Keep Communities Connected Project, the American Consumer Institute launched today a website supporting extending the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) ACPconnects.com.
The ACP is a federal subsidy program, born out of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, that provides a monthly discount on internet services and devices for eligible households. Since its inception in late 2021, over 21.1 million American households have access to affordable broadband services and connected devices.
Our report on the ACP earlier this year found “the investment value of this program will likely yield 160,000 in new jobs and contribute $37 billion to U.S. GDP, including over $9 billion in employment earnings.”
Despite the ACP’s impressive enrollment rate and overwhelming economic and social benefits, ACP funds are running out and are expected to be depleted as early as the first half of 2024. If policymakers do not take action to extend the ACP, millions of Americans will be unconnected or unable to get the services they need to participate in the modern, digital world.
As lawmakers face uncertainty in leadership, a lingering government shutdown, and threats of a net neutrality resurgence, it is critical that we don’t lose sight of what is important – connecting 100% of Americans with affordable internet. It is time policymakers recognized that this momentum and funding will not come around twice – the time is now.
As we wrote earlier, “The ACP has a role to play in closing the digital divide, it is time for Congress to recognize that role and work toward extending the program before it is too late. In the years to come, Congress should also take time to reexamine duplicative subsidy programs which have proven to be costly and ineffective in closing the digital divide.”
To learn more about the ACP, how to support ACP extension, and what others are saying on this integral broadband program, check out ACPconnects.com.
Steve Pociask is president and CEO of the American Consumer Institute, a nonprofit education and research organization. For more information about the Institute, follow us on Twitter (x) @ConsumerPal or visit www.TheAmericanConsumer.Org.