Congress must act to reauthorize the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) so that people can continue to afford to connect to high-speed internet, Governor Roy Cooper urged North Carolina’s Congressional delegation. The ACP, administered by the Federal Communications Commission, provides qualified low-income households $30 per month off the cost of an internet subscription or $100 off the cost of a device. Without bipartisan federal action, the program could run out of funds as early as April 2024, cutting off 20 million households nationally including more than 857,000 North Carolinians.
“There is broad agreement across the political spectrum that affordable high-speed internet is a necessity in today’s world, whether it’s for education, work or health care,” Governor Cooper wrote in the letter. “This is why I urge you to reauthorize this critical program that makes internet access more affordable.”
Governor Cooper and the N.C. General Assembly have worked across party lines to direct more than $1 billion of North Carolina’s allocation of American Rescue Plan State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (ARPA SLFRF) to expand high-speed internet and help North Carolinians get the skills, devices, and assistance needed to take advantage of it. However, many families need help to be able to afford high-speed internet.
As of today, the ACP is helping more than 857,000 North Carolinians with enrollment continuing to grow daily. Only three states have a higher rate of eligible people participating. Governor Cooper’s administration continues to raise awareness of the program and encourage families to sign up. People can find out if they are eligible and sign up from the ACP at http://getinternet.gov.
Under Governor Cooper’s leadership, North Carolina is pursuing comprehensive efforts to ensure all North Carolinians have access to high-speed internet, can afford it, and know how to safely use it. Through the NC Department of Information Technology, nearly $350 million in GREAT grants have been awarded to bring high-speed internet to 139,599 households and 4,447 businesses across the state. These plus other efforts to extend access especially in rural areas give more North Carolinians access to telehealth, education and work opportunities.
The broadband division also recently announced that its challenges to the Federal Communications Commission’s National Broadband Map aided in surfacing 115,000 additional North Carolina homes and businesses that do not have access to high-speed internet, adding more new unserved locations to the map through this process than any other state. These additions increased North Carolina’s funding allocation from the federal Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment program, which is bringing more than $1.53 billion in additional high-speed internet infrastructure investments to North Carolina.
To learn more about this work and Governor Cooper’s work to close the state’s digital divide, visit ncbroadband.gov.