The number of New Yorkers earning less than $20,000 with a broadband subscription rose from 64% to 76% between 2019 and 2021 thanks in large part to two federal programs created to address disparities in access to high-speed internet. More than 1.3 million New York households are receiving affordable broadband subscriptions with federal support, according to a new analysis released by State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli.
“The critical importance of high-speed internet access became abundantly clear during the COVID-19 pandemic,” DiNapoli said. “In 2021, my office reported that about one in three low-income households lacked a connection. Thanks to these federal programs those numbers are going down. This is good news, but more work needs to be done to ensure all New Yorkers have access to high-speed internet.”
During the pandemic, the federal government established the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program to provide affordable broadband subscriptions to low-income households. The program was succeeded by the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) authorized by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. Under the ACP, households at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level are eligible for up to a $30 monthly subsidy for a broadband subscription.
As of May 15, 2023, more than 1.3 million New York households enrolled in ACP, 7.2% of the total national enrollment of 18 million. The programs have helped facilitate sizable improvements in subscription rates for New York households with incomes below $20,000. In total, more than 90% of all New York households had access to broadband in 2021, up from 86% in 2019.