Nearly 250K Bronx households to lose federal internet subsidy unless Congress steps in

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Many low-income Bronx households could soon pay more for home internet unless funding for a key federal benefit is restored, according to a report by the Center for an Urban Future, a New York City-based think tank.

The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) provides an internet subsidy of up to $30 per month for low-income families with children in public schools. It also gives households a one-time discount of up to $100 towards the purchase of a computer or tablet.

But funding for the federal program expired at the end of April. Unless Congress acts to extend it, families will no longer receive the discount after May. 

The program has been popular nationwide with 23 million households enrolled — and the Bronx is one of the areas that has benefitted the most. 

Nearly 250,000 Bronx households — or 43.6% of all households in the borough — are enrolled in ACP, which represents the highest concentration of ACP-enrolled households in the city. Data from the think tank showed that the median household income of Bronx neighborhoods receiving the subsidy ranges from $26,400 to $42,270.

Advocates for the program say the need for broadband equity became glaringly clear during the pandemic. For instance, a City Council report revealed that 11% to 13% of households lacked reliable home internet access during the remote learning period.

In response to these challenges across the country, the Affordable Connectivity Program was launched in 2021 as part of the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. According to a federal factsheet on the bill, as many as 30 million American households lack fast and reliable internet, and broadband costs in the United States are higher than in most other countries.

Households enrolled in the program, especially in the Bronx, have a lot to lose if the funding is not extended, advocates say.

The ACP program is “not nice-to-have, it’s need-to-have,” said Jessica Rosenworcel, chairperson of the Federal Communications Commission, in a Feb. 29 statement. Rosenworcel said that “for the overwhelming majority of ACP recipients, the monthly subsidy is not a luxury, it’s a necessity.” 

The Biden administration and lawmakers across the country have proposed measures to extend the program — but for now, its fate remains unclear. The Bronx Times reached out to the Federal Communications Commission about the possibility of funding and is awaiting a response. 

According to the think tank, Congress should act to restore the funding this month — and New York’s congressional representatives should “lead the charge” to help keep families online. 

For more information on the wind-down of the program, see 

Reach Emily Swanson at or (646) 717-0015. For more coverage, follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @bronxtimes