Oct 9, 2023
Press Release: Broadband Affordability Program Reaches Thousands of Maine Families
More Households Are Eligible for a Benefit to Help Pay for Internet Service
PORTLAND, MAINE – More people in Maine are participating in a federal program that subsidizes access to high-speed internet, but many eligible households still aren’t receiving the benefit.
In April, the Maine Connectivity Authority launched a statewide campaign called ACP4ME to increase awareness of the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). This federal program provides eligible households a discount of between $30 and $75 per month on their internet bills. It can also provide a one-time discount of $100 toward the purchase of a laptop, desktop computer or tablet.
Since the campaign's launch, more than 18,000 additional households have signed up for the program through partner organizations working in communities across Maine. Sunrise County Economic Council, National Digital Equity Center, Four Directions Development Corporation, and Aroostook County Action Program are some of those partners that have received funding to support enrollment and awareness of the ACP.
Of the 240,000 Maine households that are eligible, 92,880 are currently participating. This is an increase of 11% from the beginning of 2022.
“We’ve made real progress since the start of the ACP4ME campaign, but there are still too many Maine people who aren’t accessing this program,” said Andrew Butcher, president of the Maine Connectivity Authority. “As we developed our state’s Broadband Action Plan, we learned that affordability is one of the key hurdles for many Maine families who don’t have broadband internet service. Making sure that everyone in Maine has access to high-quality, reliable and affordable internet is top priority. We can’t reach that goal without a major focus on affordability.”
The Affordable Connectivity Program received funding through the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. Reauthorization of the program is under consideration in Congress.
There’s a toolkit available on the Maine Connectivity Authority’s website that explains the rules of the program and provides resources for community organizations who want to help spread the word: https://www.maineconnectivity.org/affordability
Additional information is available at the Federal Communications Commission website:https://www.fcc.gov/acp
The Maine Connectivity Authority is providing this update as part of Digital Inclusion Week, which took place from Oct. 2-6. Digital Inclusion Week aims to promote access to high-speed internet and raise awareness about affordability, digital skills development, tech support and online government resources. In September, Maine released a statewide Digital Equity Plan, becoming the first state in the country to do so. The plan is the state’s roadmap for the next five years to drive access, affordability and adoption of high-speed internet.
ABOUT the Maine Connectivity Authority
The Maine Connectivity Authority was created in 2021 to expand access to fast, reliable and affordable internet to the people and places who need it and to break down the barriers that keep Mainers from taking full advantage of those connections. As of June 2023, the agency has facilitated over $100 million in investments to enable over 53,000 connections and has developed a five-year plan to expand broadband infrastructure and increase digital equity.