Policy Backgrounders
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Policy Backgrounders

CED’s Policy Backgrounders provide timely insights on prominent business and economic policy issues facing the nation.

Looming Cuts to Broadband Funding

April 18, 2024

Trusted Insights for What’s Ahead™

The $14 billion Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), which provides eligible households with $30 per month towards broadband service of their choosing, is a key component of the broadband section of the 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). The ACP has grown to enroll 23 million households with incomes below 200 percent of the poverty line. However, because Congress has not appropriated funds sufficient for the ACP’s current enrollment, without additional funding, monthly benefits will be cut by half in May and will lapse entirely beginning in June.

  • On April 9, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which administers the program, announced that the funding shortfall would force cuts in monthly broadband benefits for beneficiaries. Since October 2023, the Administration, the FCC, and numerous lawmakers have called for Congressional legislation to fund the program.
  • The Affordable Connectivity Program Extension Act introduced in both the House and Senate in January would provide ACP $7 billion to avert a lapse in funding. The bill has the bipartisan support of over 215 co-sponsors, while 450 outside organizations have pledged support, including many US telecom providers. However, the bills have not advanced.
  • Broadband providers are considering how they will respond to the funding cuts; some may accept partial payment for May and then encourage beneficiaries to switch to lower-cost broadband plans. But a significant number of households could lose access to higher-speed broadband.

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