Vice President Harris Marks Important New Milestone in Administration’s Efforts to Cut Costs for American Families
Vice President announces that since GetInternet.gov launch in May, Administration has signed up 1 million new households to save hundreds of dollars a year on internet service
Access to high-speed internet is no longer a luxury. Still, too many families go without high-speed internet because of the cost or have to cut back on other essentials to make their monthly internet service payments. That’s why President Biden and Vice President Harris worked with Democrats, Republicans, and Independents to include the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which provides $65 billion to expand internet for all — to ensure that every American has access to reliable and affordable high-speed internet.
The ACP, administered by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), provides eligible households up to $30/month (or $75/month on Tribal lands) off internet bills, as well as a one-time $100 discount off a connected device. To further lower costs, in May, President Biden and Vice President Harris announced commitments from internet service providers across the country to offer high-speed plans that are fully covered by the ACP—meaning millions of working families can now get high-speed internet without paying a dime. They simultaneously launched GetInternet.gov—a one-stop shop to check eligibility and sign up.
Today in North Carolina, Vice President Harris is announcing that, thanks to the Administration’s “all of government” enrollment drive, 1 million new households have signed up to save on home broadband through the ACP. The Administration’s efforts increased the rate of ACP enrollments by about 35%.
To build on this success, today the Vice President called on the nation’s governors to join the Administration’s enrollment drive, sending them letters describing key steps they can take to boost enrollment in their states. For example, today, the State of North Carolina committed to email 5 million households to let them know they can lower their internet bill by visiting GetInternet.gov to check eligibility and sign up.
THE BIDEN-HARRIS ADMINISTRATION’S “ALL OF GOVERNMENT” ENROLLMENT DRIVE
Partnering with state and local governments: The Vice President’s call to action today builds on the Administration’s existing successful partnerships with state and local governments to spread the word. For example:
- Michigan texted about 1.3 million likely eligible Michiganders and gained 25,000 new ACP enrollees as a result.
- Albemarle County, Virginia now includes a “P.S.” about GetInternet.gov in every client communication by county social service workers.
- Massachusetts recently texted more than 1 million Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) beneficiaries about GetInternet.gov and saw their rate of enrollments double in the five days following the text.
- The City of Mesa, Arizona reports that constituents who hear about ACP are extremely interested. Mesa’s texts to residents about GetInternet.gov have a 10% clickthrough rate, as compared to a usual 1-5% rate for other Mesa governmental outreach.
- New York City sent backpack flyers about ACP home via 1,700 principals to reach about 1 million children who attend Free and Reduced-Price School Lunch Community-Eligible Schools, and it will advertise GetInternet.gov at bus stops in zip codes with a high number of households likely eligible for ACP.
Leveraging all of the federal government: In addition to working with state and local partners, the Administration is using every tool in its toolbox to get the word out—including communicating directly with households that are automatically eligible for ACP due to their participation in other federal government programs. For example:
- The Social Security Administration (SSA) emailed all 1.7 million Supplemental Security Income recipients who have a “my social security” account letting them know that they are eligible for ACP. SSA plans to send a second email to recipients this summer. The agency is also running PSAs on Social Security Television, broadcast in more than 1,200 local social security offices nationwide.
- This summer, the Department of Education will email over 6 million Pell grant recipients who are eligible for ACP. It will also conduct a Back-To-School campaign with information about ACP.
- The Department of Veterans Affairs sent information to its 12 million VetResources email subscribers and 120 Community Veteran Engagement Boards, as Veterans Pension and Survivors Benefit recipients are eligible for ACP. This summer the Veterans Benefits Administration will also directly mail all 380,000 Veterans and Survivors currently receiving pension benefits a notification letter and flyer.
- The Department of Housing and Urban Development emailed over 3,000 Public Housing Authorities with information about the ACP to share with their over 3 million families who receive Federal Public Housing Assistance and are eligible, and is currently doing follow-up engagement.
- The Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Trust Funds Administration reached out to over 400,000 beneficiaries with a direct mailing to let them know about ACP. The Department also trained over 200 call center and field staff who work at the Bureau of Trust Funds Administration to disseminate information and answer questions about eligibility and how to enroll in ACP.
- Broadband infrastructure grant programs operated by the Department of the Treasury, the Department of Agriculture, and the Department of Commerce are all requiring grant funding recipients to participate in the ACP, helping ensuring federal funds are used to deploy networks that are actually affordable.
Working with advocates and digital navigators: The Administration is also working with trusted community leaders to get the word out and enroll eligible households. For example:
- The FCC has registered over 40,000 individuals and organizations to be ACP outreach partners. To build on these efforts, the FCC is in the process of standing up a new grant program to empower partners to engage their communities and has reserved up to $100 million of Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding to conduct ACP outreach efforts, including consumer research, focus groups, paid media campaigns, and grants to outreach partners over the next five years.
- The Administration partnered with civil rights groups to kick off a Week of Action in June, in which the Leadership Conference and partner civil rights organizations reached out to communities to encourage households to sign up for ACP.
- Thanks to Administration outreach, United Way will share information about ACP in communications reaching at least 15,000 people per month.
- The Administration also worked with Propel, a financial technology platform used by SNAP beneficiaries that reaches over 5 million low-income households. Propel is running an ACP promotion campaign through July.
THE AFFORDABLE CONNECTIVITY PROGRAM (ACP)
The ACP is a key part of the Administration’s Internet for All initiative and the largest internet affordability program in our nation’s history. Experts estimate that 48 million households—or nearly 40% of households in the country—qualify for the ACP either because their income is at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level, or because a member of the household meets one of the other criteria below:
- Participates in one of the following programs:
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as Food Stamps
- Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA)
- Veterans Pension and Survivors Benefit
- Free and Reduced-Price School Lunch Program or School Breakfast Program, including at U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Community Eligibility Provision schools
- Federal Pell Grant (received in the current award year)
- Certain Tribal assistance programs, including Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance, Head Start (only households meeting the income qualifying standard), Tribal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (Tribal TANF), and Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations
- Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating broadband provider’s existing low-income internet program.
As of now, more than 1,300 internet service providers participate in the program, and about 13 million households have signed up to receive the ACP benefit.
Households can check their eligibility for ACP, sign up, and find fully covered plans by visiting GetInternet.gov. They can also learn more by calling (877) 384-2575.
The ACP enrollment drive is just one part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s Internet for All Initiative to ensure that every American has access to reliable and affordable high-speed internet. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provides a $65 billion investment in high-speed internet access—on top of billions in funding for high-speed, affordable internet provided by the American Rescue Plan that is currently being deployed across the nation.