20% of Ohio households are signed up for ACP, third highest among all states

According to the Federal Communications Commission’s “ACP Enrollment and Claims Tracker” site, more than 990,000 Ohio households are now enrolled in the agency’s Affordable Connectivity Program, with the program committed to pay up to $30 of their monthly home Internet or smartphone costs.  By the end of this week that number is almost certain to top one million.

A million ACP participants equals almost 21% of all Ohio households. That’s the third highest ACP household penetration rate among all fifty states — behind only Louisiana (26%) and Kentucky (22%).

Like the state’s recently announced $800 million in BEAD rural broadband funding, and its expected $30+ million in Digital Equity funding, ACP dollars come from the broadband section of the 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. ACP support for a million participating Ohioans amounts to an Infrastructure Act grant of $30 million a month to promote broadband affordability.

CYC calculates that Ohio has received at least $270 million from the FCC in ACP subsidies to residents in the last twelve months, and stands to receive up to $400 million more by this time next year… assuming the ACP’s Infrastructure Act funding lasts that long, or the program gets additional funding from Congress by the time that original money runs out.

ACP household participation rates among Ohio counties

While 20-21% is the Ohio-wide average, the percentages of households participating in ACP vary widely among the state’s counties.  Differing shares of counties’ residents who are eligible — based on incomes below 200% of poverty, Pell college grants, or other factors — is obviously a major reason.  Some counties are just economically worse off, on average, than others.

The ACP data reminds us that Ohio’s less well-off counties come in both urban and rural varieties — and both varieties have lots of residents who need help paying for Internet service.

The map below shows county-level ACP data at the end of May, released by USAC last week. Counties marked in red had the highest percentages of their households enrolled in ACP; those marked in green or blue had the lowest.  The most ACP-intensive counties in Ohio were Scioto, Pike and Marion.  The only big-city county with an ACP household penetration rate above 25%  was Montgomery, which includes Dayton and its suburbs as well as several rural townships.

More to follow.