20 Internet Providers to Provide Affordable Broadband

CAST | May 13, 2022 | by Donna Childress

See how LeadingAge CAST has offered to assist with outreach.

High-speed internet just became more accessible for people with low incomes. The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), referenced in the January Tech Time, provides tens of millions of American households up to $30 per month to reduce their internet service costs, up to $75 per month on Tribal lands. In new agreements with the Biden-Harris Administration, 20 leading internet providers have committed to offer ACP-eligible households high-speed, high-quality internet plans for no more than $30 per month. The providers will either increase speeds or cut prices to do so. They would commit to removing existing data caps, which currently reduce connectivity speeds when they reach the maximum allowed data caps.
 
The providers cover more than 80% of the United States population across urban, suburban, and rural areas, according to a White House statement announcing the news. The ACP is part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
 
LeadingAge CAST has offered to work with affordable housing providers to raise awareness of the program, its broader availability, and recent enhancements. CAST Executive Director Majd Alwan, Ph.D., reached out to White House Public Engagement Office Director Cedric Richmond to offer ideas on scaling up program adoption.
 
“I would like to take this opportunity to propose working with you/ your staff, the FCC [Federal Communications Commission], HUD [U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development], and/ or any other relevant agency to figure out a way to make it easier, faster, and much more efficient and streamlined to provide this benefit and internet services in bulk to congregate affordable housing residents, rather than relying on residents, family, or service coordinators signing them up individually,” he wrote. “We’d be more than happy to brainstorm ideas and to help in any way we can, including facilitating conversations with congregate affordable housing providers directly.”
 
The Administration announced the following initiatives to increase ACP enrollment:
 
Launching GetInternet.gov: GetInternet.gov is a simple, easy-to-use website with details on how Americans can sign up for ACP and find participating internet providers in their area.

Reaching out to eligible households through federal agencies: Households qualify for ACP based on their income or through their participation in one of several other federal programs, like Pell Grants, Medicaid, or Supplemental Security Income. Agencies that manage these programs will coordinate outreach to qualifying households.

Partnering with states and cities: The Administration is partnering with states and cities to spread the word.

Collaborating with public interest organizations: Public interest organizations, including the United Way, Goodwill, Catholic Charities USA, and UnidosUS, will train their national networks to conduct direct enrollment and outreach. Propel, a mission-driven financial technology company, will provide information via the Providers app to connect more than 5 million low-income families with the program.

LeadingAge CAST Broadband in Affordable Housing Resources

LeadingAge CAST has prepared a suite of Broadband in Affordable Housing resources to help housing organization leaders to understand how to bring broadband connectivity to their communities affordably. The resources include a white paper, interactive guide, and case studies.