First there was the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) program, part of the COVID-19 response by the federal government, that offered low-income households a discount of $50 per month on their internet connection through participating providers. Now, the temporary EBB is being replaced by a permanent program, the Affordable Connectivity Program, with a monthly $30 subsidy. Both of these programs appear to address a long-standing challenge in America - how to get Americas most vulnerable households to connect.
The problem is, eligible Americans don't seem to be responding. Only 7 million households (out of an estimated 37 million eligible households) have not taken advantage of the subsidy. Why? Here are some possible reasons.
Internet providers are going to start signing up to participate in the Affordable Connectivity Program soon. Let's hope that more provides decide it's worth a little extra work to connect their friends and neighbors in need of broadband but without the means to do so on their own. And let's hope that all providers make it a priority to conduct the customer outreach that is needed to increase awareness and connect more families.
Broadband Bytes News
Presented by the Community Broadband Action Network and curated by Curtis Dean.