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What’s New in Digital Equity: The Affordable Connectivity Program, Year One

Plus, Colorado launches a statewide program to get more people signed up for the Affordable Connectivity Program; Georgia is announcing expanded broadband funding; Connecticut suffers an Internet outage; and more.

An Internet concept image showing a small house against a digital backdrop.
This week in “What’s New in Digital Equity” — our weekly look at government digital equity and broadband news — we have a number of interesting items, which you can jump to with the links below:


A new series of interactive dashboards is painting a picture of the first year of the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), an effort by the federal government to help more Americans pay for high-speed Internet.

The dashboards — which are the work of the Annenberg Research Network on International Communication at the University of Southern California — show the program’s uptake rate, participation by county, and more. Users can toggle many of them to explore different fields of data over different locations.

The landing page for the project has some graphics, along with links to the full-size dashboards, where the underlying data can also be downloaded. The work on these dashboards was enabled by grants through the Pew Charitable Trusts’ Broadband Access Initiative.

As the data here points out, the ACP — which is a $14.2 billion program overseen by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) — first launched in January 2022, immediately serving about 10 million households that had transitioned from the precursor program, the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program. In the first year, it enrolled roughly 5.4 million new households, bringing its total up to about 15.4 million.

The ACP provides eligible households with a monthly discount of up to $30 (or $75 for households who qualify on tribal lands) as well as a one-time $100 discount for a device to use that Internet.

The dashboards found that about 55.4 million American households are eligible here, making for an uptake rate of about 28 percent. This, of course, is just one of the interesting nuggets that can be gleaned from this work, which you can find here. (Zack Quaintance)


In other ACP news, Colorado has announced a new statewide initiative to help get more of its residents who qualify signed up for the program.

In a press release from Lt. Gov. Dianne Primavera, the state noted that more than 792,000 Colorado residents are eligible for the ACP, with only 23 percent of that number having enrolled. To remedy this, state leadership has created the Colorado ACP Act Now initiative, a broad coalition of 71 partner cities, community groups and other institutions. That group is working with EducationSuperHighway, a national nonprofit in the digital inclusion space.

EducationSuperHighway plans to train community leaders and partner organizations in Colorado on how to help get people signed up for the ACP. The group also recently launched a website,, with a virtual mobile assistant that simplifies ACP enrollment by providing support for users in real time. (Zack Quaintance)


A second round of funding for high-speed Internet expansion projects will be available for the state of Georgia through the Capital Projects Fund (CPF) Grant Program, according to an announcement made last week. An additional $15 million in funding is expected in this round and will be administered and distributed by the Office of Planning and Budget. Applications will be open to Internet service providers, partnerships and consortiums.

The CPF grant program will fund projects to bring service to unserved and underserved areas, supporting both households and businesses. This follows the $234 million investment of CPF funds announced earlier this year. In total, when combined with capital matches from awardees, the investment will be nearly $455 million. (Julia Edinger)


The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking seeking comments on actions to increase tribal participation in the E-rate program. The program, established in 1996, provides support to schools and libraries to ensure they can connect students and library patrons to affordable, high-speed broadband services and Internet equipment.

The FCC began an initiative to increase access to this support for tribal libraries in January 2022 by clarifying their eligibility to participate. The launch of the Tribal Libraries Pilot Program followed, aiming to ensure equitable participation access. Now, the FCC is further improving the program rules to continue expanding tribal participation moving forward by seeking comment on existing barriers and issues that hinder participation, such as form complexity and the length of filing windows. (Julia Edinger)


The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced a new $63 million investment aimed at helping bring high-speed Internet to rural America.

Specifically, this new money is to go toward supporting work in rural communities in Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota and Mississippi. It is allotted from the money set aside for broadband in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which provides $65 billion total for the work. This is the third funding round to come from the federal ReConnect Program, which has seen the USDA so far invest $1.7 billion in rural high-speed Internet support.

A full list of projects being funded can be found on the announcement page. (Zack Quaintance)


Although the state of Connecticut has been working towards expanding Internet access to all residents, having passed legislation to target this issue in 2021, the state government itself lost connection this week in an Internet outage across the state network, illustrating that there is still work to be done to ensure reliable connectivity.

While the issue has since been resolved, the Connecticut Department of Administrative Services (DAS) explained in a tweet that a tripped electrical breaker at one of the state’s data centers led to the unexpected and widespread outage. This outage impacted those operating on the state network with slow or otherwise impaired connectivity. The department’s Bureau of Information Technology Solutions (BITS) worked to diagnose and address the issue.

Officials told NBC Connecticut that this outage impacted hearings scheduled for that day, causing disruptions to state work. Although the issue was resolved the same day it occurred, it highlighted the need for state government to be prepared in the case of future outages — or cyber attacks. (Julia Edinger)
Associate editor for Government Technology magazine.
Julia Edinger is a staff writer for <i>Government Technology</i>. She has a bachelor's degree in English from the University of Toledo and has since worked in publishing and media. She's currently located in Southern California.