The Affordable Connectivity Program represents an inflection point for Lifeline and universal service.
Prior to the pandemic, the Federal Communications Commission’s Lifeline program supported mainly wireless communication services for low-income households; its $9.25/month subsidy resulting in service plans that restricted voice and data usage.
To address Americans’ online connectivity needs during the pandemic, Congress directed the FCC to launch the Emergency Broadband Benefit program—a historic expansion of financial support for universal service. With the passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the Emergency Broadband Benefit program has transitioned to a longer-term Affordable Connectivity Program, a $30-per-month service subsidy for qualifying households.
The Affordable Connectivity Program’s $30-per-month subsidy offers the opportunity to take a fresh look at policies to promote online access for low-income people in the United States.
See the Benton Institute