Government agencies and nonprofits in 11 states and territories will receive an additional $4.3 million to promote the Federal Communications Commission’s Affordable Connectivity Program, the FCC announced Thursday.
The FCC in March awarded states and territories $66 million to encourage more people to sign up for the $14 billion subsidy program, but some areas did not receive much funding, prompting FCC Chair Jessica Rosenworcel to announce a second-chance round of funding.
This round, all states, plus Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico, will receive at least $500,000 in ACP Outreach Program grants, and other territories will receive at least $250,000, the FCC said.
Thursday’s awards include $400,000 for each of the state broadband offices in West Virginia and South Carolina. Some advocacy groups received funding, like the Virginia Association of Elementary School Principals, which is receiving just under $100,000.
So far, more than 20 million households have signed up for ACP, which provides qualifying households $30 off their monthly internet bills, or $75 off in tribal lands. The Biden administration estimated there are 48 million eligible households.
Despite outreach efforts, the Affordable Connectivity Program — which one nonprofit recently claimed should be the nation’s “premier federal broadband program” — is expected to run out of funds as early as next year. While the FCC has so far been steady in its support for the program, its future is not assured unless Congress approves additional funding.