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Beyond Affordable Connectivity Program: Navigating the Evolving Internet Landscape

A New Era Dawns: Exploring Post-ACP Internet Trends

The impending end of the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) in the US marks a pivotal moment for internet accessibility, particularly for low-income households. We have delved deep into this evolving landscape, conducting a comprehensive market study to shed light on the current situation, service provider initiatives and opportunities that lie ahead. To recall, the FCC’s ACP, catering to over 23 million low-income households, is set to conclude in May 2024.

Our survey, conducted in February and March 2024, collected insights from over 1,200 respondents. It provides a critical examination of consumer expectations, awareness gaps, the shifting dynamics in the internet service sector and pointers to future strategies and situations for service providers and the market.

Key Insights from Our Study:

  • Awareness Gaps: Despite efforts by internet service providers (ISPs), awareness surrounding the ACP's impending cessation remains low, especially in the Western US. The Midwest exhibits higher levels of awareness, indicating a need for targeted informational campaigns.
  • Communication Challenges: Only 30% of surveyed ACP users received information about the program's end from their ISPs. This underscores the urgent need for ISPs, particularly the top 5 players, to enhance communication efforts.
  • Future Willingness to Pay: Our findings reveal a diverse willingness among ACP users to pay for internet services post-ACP, with the $20-35 monthly bill range emerging as a comfortable band for affordability. Notably, Android users in the West demonstrate a greater readiness to adapt.
  • Regional Variations: Awareness and perceptions of the ACP's termination vary significantly by region, highlighting the importance of tailored strategies in addressing the transition.

Implications for Service Providers and Policymakers

As the ACP draws to a close, we are at a critical juncture for internet accessibility in the US. Our study underscores the need for proactive communication, focused pricing strategies, and innovative support mechanisms to ensure that no household is left behind in our increasingly digital world. It also provides insights into the strategies and approaches for ISPs and other market functionaries.

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