FCC and HUD to advance Biden administration’s Affordable Connectivity Program

The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) was launched as an adjunct to the BEAD program, taking the US a step closer to the goal of tech equity.

Business people working on digital devices

In keeping with campaign promises, the Biden administration has launched the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), giving teeth to the Broadband Equity, Access and Development Program (BEAD), which was rolled out earlier in the year. The ACP ensures that select households or individuals receive high-speed internet at a discounted rate.

The US Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Marcia Fudge has now announced a partnership between HUD and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to raise awareness and facilitate the implementation of the ACP program. Residents of government-assisted, low-income housing will now be eligible for free or reduced-cost internet service through the ACP. The program provides a discount of up to $30 per month on internet service, up to $75 per month for households residing on tribal lands, and a one-time discount of up to $100 for a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet.

Those who stand to benefit the most include persons who received a Federal Pell Grant during the year, those participating in select low-income internet programs or an identified assistance program, and individuals living on qualifying tribal lands.

Why does it matter?

The need for internet accessibility is paramount, as it is crucial in narrowing the wealth gap and providing equal opportunities for education and career advancement. The lack of quality internet service affects around 6% of US residents or approximately 264,000 households in Washington alone. The COVID-19 pandemic has further highlighted the importance of reliable internet access for educational purposes.