TWO-THIRDS OF AMERICA’S DIGITAL DIVIDE
17 million unconnected households (47 million people) have access to Internet service but cannot afford to connect. In 43 states, this ‘broadband affordability gap’ is the largest portion of the digital divide, and makes up 58% of the unconnected households in states with rural populations that exceed the national average. It disproportionately impacts low-income, Black, and Latinx Americans and those with less than a high school education.
OF THE 28M UNCONNECTED U.S. HOUSEHOLDS
Unconnected households have access to Internet service but cannot afford to connect.
People with available broadband infrastructure that cannot afford to connect.
Where 25% or more of the households lack home broadband. These areas represent only 30% of the U.S. population. but 67% of the
17 million homes that have access to the Internet but cannot afford to connect.
Below 200% Poverty Threshold
The federal government has recognized the need to address the affordability gap by investing $65 billion to close the digital divide.
Partnerships between non-profits, community-based organizations, Internet Service Providers, and state and local governments have developed game-changing approaches to identifying unconnected households, innovative solutions to increasing adoption, and the creation of programs that eliminate the need for households to sign-up for broadband service altogether, providing a blueprint for a broad public-private partnership to close the broadband affordability gap.
Federal Broadband Funding
Lifeline & Emergency Broadband Benefit Participation Rate
Despite the pandemic, there has been little change in the adoption of federal broadband affordability programs. As few as 17% of Americans eligible for federal broadband affordability programs have enrolled due to awareness, trust, and enrollment barriers.
Congress has made the resources available to close the affordability gap, and ISPs continue to increase the availability and speed of affordable broadband plans. We must now remove the barriers that keep low-income families from connecting or risk wasting this opportunity to leave No Home Left Offline.
Supporting state and local governments in designing their broadband plans for implementation of the infrastructure bill.
Raise awareness of the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) and make it easy for unconnected households to enroll.
Deploy free Wi-Fi to eliminate the need for low-income households to sign-up for broadband service altogether.