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The Areas Hit Hardest by the End of the ACP Internet Subsidy

Where could the digital divide deepen? Government Technology analyzed White House data to pinpoint the areas most impacted by the end of a federal subsidy that saved millions $30-75 a month on their Internet bill.

The Internet bill for about 23 million American households may soon be significantly higher, potentially deepening the country’s digital divide as some families may no longer be able to afford access.

The Federal Communications Commission’s Affordable Connectivity Program offered eligible households and tribal lands a discount of $30 to $75 on their monthly Internet bills. Discounts on monthly Internet bills started at the end of 2021 and lasted until April of 2024, before the $14.2 billion allocated by Congress ran out.

Last spring, program leaders halted enrollment in the program as funds dwindled, removing applications from their website. April was the last month ACP households received the full discount, while some ACP households received partial discounts in May.

Government Technology analyzed enrollment data published by the White House to determine where state and local government leaders might expect to see the biggest impact as a result of the end of the program.
While California, New York, Texas, Florida and Ohio had the largest numbers of Internet subscribers enrolled in the ACP, the FCC reports that households in every county in the country had taken advantage of the program.

In Louisiana, nearly one-third of all households in the state received discounts through the ACP. About 1 in 4 residences in Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky, Oklahoma, New York and Nevada qualified for and received discounted Internet.

New York’s Congressional District 13, where there were about 160,000 households enrolled in the program, had the highest percentage in the country, with about 1 in 2 households receiving discounts on their Internet. District 13 is comprised of Upper Manhattan and western Bronx neighborhoods.

That’s a significant difference from the enrollment numbers in nearby, more affluent areas. For example, New Jersey’s 7th Congressional District only had about 4 percent, or 1 in 25 households, enrolled in the program.

Meanwhile, the FCC is expressing a desire for Congress to continue the program.

“The commission is available to provide any assistance Congress may need to support funding the ACP in the future and stands ready to resume the program if additional funding is provided,” said FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel in a statement.

Digital accessibility advocates are sharing their disappointment with lawmakers who allowed the program to end. Still, they haven’t given up hope that some kind of federal funding will be available in the future to provide affordable Internet access.

“Because Congress failed to act, millions will now be forced to make the difficult decision of how they’ll fit something so essential into their tightening budgets,” said Amy Huffman, policy director of the National Digital Inclusion Alliance, in a press release. “It’s beyond disappointing that Congress abandoned its duties and let the program lapse, but we won’t give up. We’ll continue to fight for a long-term solution to fund an affordable broadband program like the ACP because it was wildly successful and we know it worked.”

While the ACP has been discontinued, many major Internet providers have pledged to continue offering discounts on Internet service through the end of 2024.

For now, the FCC is encouraging former program participants to contact their Internet company and ask if they have a lower-cost plan and/or low-income program available.


Nikki Davidson is a data reporter for Government Technology. She’s covered government and technology news as a video, newspaper, magazine and digital journalist for media outlets across the country. She’s based in Monterey, Calif.