THE CHALLENGE

Close the Broadband Affordability Gap

Yellow Connectivity Map

TWO-THIRDS OF AMERICA’S DIGITAL DIVIDE

Affordability
Keeps 18 Million Households Offline

18 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.

Two-Thirds Can't Afford an Available Connection

0%

OF THE 28M UNCONNECTED U.S. HOUSEHOLDS

18M

Unconnected households have access to Internet service but cannot afford to connect.

47M

People with available broadband infrastructure that cannot afford to connect.

The Broadband Affordability Gap

Concentrated in America's
Most Unconnected Communities

Where 25% or more of the households lack home broadband. These areas represent only 30% of the U.S. population. but 67% of the 18.1 million homes that have access to the Internet but cannot afford to connect.

Concentrated in our poorest
communities

% Households

Unconnected Communities
0%
National
Average
0%

Below 200% Poverty Threshold

Disproportionately impacts
Black and Latinx communities

% Population

Unconnected Communities
0%

Black

National
Average
0%

Black

Unconnected Communities
0%

LatinX

National
Average
0%

LatinX

Black

LatinX

A HISTORIC OPPORTUNITY

Federal Funding

The federal government has recognized the need to address the affordability gap by investing $20 billion in the nation’s largest-ever broadband affordability and adoption program.

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

$20B

In 2019, the Lifeline program participation rate was 24%. In October 2021, Lifeline and Emergency Broadband Benefit participation rate was 17%-25%.

Pre Pandemic
0%
Current
As few as
0%

Lifeline & Emergency Broadband Benefit Participation Rate

THE BROADBAND AFFORDABILITY GAP

Previous Efforts to Close the Gap Have Fallen Short

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.

WE MUST SEIZE THIS MOMENT

Strategies for Success

Congress is doing its part by making 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.

Data Icon

Leverage data to identify unconnected households

Collect broadband adoption data at the address level to target outreach and adoption efforts and track progress.

House with Wi-Fi Icon

Launch broadband adoption programs

Help ISPs sign up eligible households for federal broadband programs and home broadband service.

Report Icon

Deploy free Wi-Fi to low-income apartment buildings

Eliminate the need for households to sign-up for broadband service altogether.

Get In Touch

Help Us Close the Broadband Affordability Gap.

Senior struggling to use laptop