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FCC Report Shows Hickenlooper Affordable Internet Program Success

Mar 4, 2024

72 percent of households rely on ACP for critical services, including schoolwork, health care, and work 

Without long-term sustainable funding, millions of Americans’ internet access will be cut off

WASHINGTON – Recently, the success of the Hickenlooper-Championed Affordable Connectivity Program’s (ACP)  was highlighted in a Federal Communication Commission (FCC) report. The results show that the majority of the 23 million households enrolled in the ACP had poor or zero connectivity previously and over 75 percent rely on their ACP internet for critical services, including health care services, completing schoolwork, and working.

However, the survey also highlights the impact if funding for the ACP isn’t extended; more than three-quarters of the respondents indicated they would be forced to drop internet service or change plans to slower speeds. Hickenlooper has called for the long-term sustainability of the legacy Universal Service Fund, ACP, and its extension beyond the potential funding lapse this spring.

“The proof is in the pudding. Millions of Americans depend on the ACP’s affordable, high-speed internet for their health care, school, and work,” said Hickenlooper. “Our Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is connecting millions in rural areas and underserved communities to the 21st Century but we can’t let the ACP – and our progress – lapse.”

The FCC survey results include the following key takeaways:

  • Households rely on ACP for critical services
    • 72% depend on their ACP internet service to schedule or attend healthcare appointments.
    • 48% use it to complete work or apply for jobs.
    • 75% use it to do schoolwork (among 18–24-year-old subscribers)
  • Majority of households depend on ACP for consistent access
    • 53% of rural respondents report having either zero connectivity or relying solely on mobile service prior to enrolling in the ACP
    • Two-thirds say they had inconsistent connectivity or zero connectivity prior to ACP and cited affordability as the major barrier.
  • Lapse in program funding would disrupt reliable internet service
    • 77% of respondents say losing their ACP benefit would force them to drop internet service entirely or change internet plans.

ACP is the largest high-speed internet affordability program in the nation’s history, created as part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which Hickenlooper helped negotiate and write as part of the G-22 group of senators. Hickenlooper also served on the G-22’s broadband working group which specifically created the historic ACP. In 2022, President Biden invited Hickenlooper to the White House for the launch of the ACP.

The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) which has now reached 250,000 low-income households in Colorado and delivered over $122 million in savings on the cost of high-speed internet service for Coloradans. In total, the ACP is helping Colorado families save roughly $7 million each month.

Nationally, the ACP has already helped 23 million households – 1 in 6 households across America – save $30-$75 each on their monthly internet bills.

Experts previously estimated that 48 million households – or nearly 40% of households in the country – qualify for the program. Hickenlooper is the co-author of the bipartisan Reforming Broadband Connectivity Act, which would direct the Federal Communications Commission to complete a rulemaking to increase their ability to fund critical programs that make internet service accessible and affordable for Americans.

Hickenlooper has also called for fully funding the FCC’s Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Reimbursement Program (“Rip & Replace”), which will remove dangerous network equipment and increase wireless resiliency supporting ACP connections across rural communities.

The full report results are available HERE.


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