White House Announces Free Internet Under Affordable Connectivity Program

Regulation | May 09, 2022

On May 9, the White House and HUD announced improvements and expansion of the FCC’s Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). The White House has negotiated broadband packages of $30 a month or less, which after the ACP program’s $30 discount, would make these programs free for ACP participants. Also on May 9, HUD reiterated that participation in the ACP will not impact eligibility for HUD programs or tenant rent determinations.

On May 9, the White House and HUD announced improvements and expansion of the FCC’s Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). The White House has negotiated broadband packages of $30 a month or less, which after the ACP program’s $30 discount, would make these programs free for ACP participants. Also on May 9, HUD reiterated that participation in the ACP will not impact eligibility for HUD programs or tenant rent determinations.

The ACP program, enacted as part of the bipartisan infrastructure and jobs act of 2021, was launched in January 2022 to provide eligible households with up to a $30 per month discount toward internet service as well as a one-time discount of up to $100 for a device like a laptop, computer, tablet or hotspot.

The May 9 announcement from the White House takes the program further. The Biden-Harris Administration has secured commitments from a set of large and small internet providers to offer high-speed broadband prices at $30 a month or less, enabling tens of millions of low income households eligible for the ACP to get high-speed internet access at no charge at all after their $30 discount. The White House estimates that 48 million households will be covered by the program, or 40% of the country.

“From large providers like AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon serving dozens of states, to smaller providers serving rural areas like Jackson Energy Authority in Tennessee and Comporium in North Carolina, the commitments will allow tens of millions of ACP-eligible households to receive high-speed internet at no cost,” the White House announcement said.

In addition to HUD reaching out to all HUD-assisted households about the ACP program, the White House is also partnering with states and cities to spread the word as well. For example, Michigan, Massachusetts, Philadelphia, Mesa, Arizona, and New York City will text millions of eligible households, according to the White House.

The Administration has also created a new website, www.getInternet.gov, with details on how Americans can sign up for ACP and find participating internet providers in their area.

“The pandemic has further highlighted a known divide in access to broadband and its importance in daily life. We are deeply committed to ensuring that communities have the necessary resources to thrive, especially when it comes to accessing reliable and affordable broadband coverage. With today’s action, we are making it clear that eligible HUD households can get the financial help they need to equitably access broadband without losing access to critical HUD programs,” HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge said.

Read the White House announcement here

Read HUD's announcement here