ACP Serving More Than 20M, Ohio’s $162.5M CPF Funding, Lumos Gets $1.1 Billion in Financing

The program has added two million Americans since June.

ACP Serving More Than 20M, Ohio’s $162.5M CPF Funding, Lumos Gets $1.1 Billion in Financing
Photo of Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur, D-Ohio, in 2017 by Defense Visual Information Distribution Service

August 15, 2023 – The Federal Communications Commission on Monday revealed that over 20 million households, out of a total of 48.6 million eligible, have registered for the Affordable Connectivity Program.

The administration revealed in June that it had onboarded over 18 million households, meaning the program has added more than 2 million since.

“Enrolling more than 20 million eligible households is no small feat—and wouldn’t be possible without the partnership of organizations in rural, suburban, and urban communities across the country who are getting the word about this powerful program,” said FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel. “We’ve made too much progress in helping families get online to turn back now.”

As part of the Joe Biden administration’s effort to address the digital divide, ACP was established under the Infrastructure, Investment and Jobs Act and provides low-income Americans with a $100 one-time discount for internet devices and monthly internet discounts of $30 or $75. The $75 discount is reserved for tribal lands and high-cost locations.

The FCC said it has committed over $72 million with 228 ACP outreach grants to state, local, tribal governments and community partners. In June, the FCC, along with the Department of Education and the nonprofit Civic Nation, joined the White House’s “Online for All” campaign to raise awareness about ACP benefits.

Many have forecast the program’s funding will be exhausted by early 2024, prompting worry among internet providers and industry experts about its potential impact on ongoing broadband expansion and efforts toward digital equity.

Despite multiple calls for funding replenishment, Congress has still remained inactive on the matter.

Ohio awarded $162M from Capital Projects Fund

The Department of Treasury on Monday awarded Ohio $162.5 million from the Capital Projects Fund to expand internet access to unserved and underserved communities.

As detailed in the press release, a total of $75 million is allocated to support broadband infrastructure projects under the Ohio Residential Broadband Expansion Grant Program, which the state estimates would connect 15,000 homes and businesses.

Ohio is also investing an extra $85 million to the Appalachian Community Innovation Campuses Program, aimed at building multi-purpose facilities to increase access to education, community health services, and workforce development opportunities.

These combined fundings account for 61 percent of the state’s total allocation under the CPF program, read the announcement.

“Bringing modern high-speed broadband internet infrastructure to our communities will allow them to compete regionally, nationally, and globally and ensure students in rural areas will have access to 21st century technology,” said Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur, D-Ohio. “Building our economy from the bottom up and middle out, means leaving no Ohio community behind and this investment helps fulfill that pledge.”

“The Capital Projects Fund Award for Ohio proves how the Biden-Harris Administration is working hard to improve the livelihoods of Central Ohioans,” said Congresswoman Joyce Beatty, D-Ohio, adding that Ohio was recognized as a key workforce hub under President Joe Biden’s Investing in America agenda.

According to the Department of Treasury, the Capital Projects Fund has disbursed almost $8 billion of the allocated $10 billion for broadband, digital technology, and multi-purpose community center initiatives across 47 states, which these states predict will impact over two million locations.

Lumos signs $1.1 billion  financing

Internet service provider Lumos Fiber on August 8 announced it has secured a $1.1 billion sustainability-linked infrastructure financing from private equity firm EQT to fund its fiber roll-outs and debt repayment.

The company stated this is the first US sustainability-linked financing project for an existing fiber-to-the-home platform, a high-speed internet technology that directly connects residences to the internet through optical fiber cables for faster and more reliable data transmission.

“Today’s announcement is truly exciting and will enable Lumos to achieve our long-term fiber roll-out plans,” said Brian Stading, CEO of Lumos. “We are thrilled to partner with financial institutions that share our company’s mission to build future-proof infrastructure and improve the quality of life for those in our communities.”

The new financing would reinforce Lumos roll-out machine and scalability as well as the company’s continued commitment to environmental, social and governance standards, read the press release.

“We are proud to support the Lumos team in its mission to provide high quality fiber broadband in underserved markets across the Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern US and appreciate the support from our financing partners to also help support Lumos’ mission,” said EQT Partner Nirav Shah.

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