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Revamping Broadband Subsidies: A Post-ACP Opportunity

Revamping Broadband Subsidies: A Post-ACP Opportunity

The cessation of the Federal Communication Commission’s Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) by May 2024 will leave an estimated six million U.S. households without broadband connectivity. This disruption is particularly acute for those in multi-family housing units where broadband infrastructure is often outdated or non-existent. The digital divide is driven by high costs and insufficient service provider investment in low-income areas. With broadband costs averaging $50-$70 monthly, many households depend on subsidies to stay connected. The ACP's end calls for a reevaluation of subsidy structures, suggesting that programs like FCC Lifeline should support bulk internet deals for entire properties to ensure seamless, affordable access. This approach can eliminate barriers such as credit checks and deposits, making broadband more accessible. Effective public-private partnerships can make affordable connectivity a sustainable business model, with long-term contracts essential for profitability. Addressing inefficiencies in the current system can transform affordable broadband into a viable market for managed service providers.

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