Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios Pro Rata

Dive into the world of dealmakers across VC, PE and M&A with Axios Pro Rata. Delivered daily to your inbox by Dan Primack and Kia Kokalitcheva.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Nashville news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Nashville newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Columbus news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Columbus newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Dallas news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Dallas newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Austin news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Austin newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Atlanta news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Atlanta newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Philadelphia news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Philadelphia newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Chicago news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Chicago newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

A new federal program that offers $50 a month to pay for internet service has enrolled 5 million households, the Federal Communications Commission said Friday.

The big picture: There are tens of millions of low-income Americans eligible for the Emergency Broadband Benefit program, and digital inclusion experts say more on-the-ground work is needed to connect those households.

Driving the news: In addition to the new enrollment figure, the FCC also announced it is providing more enrollee demographic information, including age, eligibility, location and type of broadband service, to help better target outreach efforts.

  • "Through our analysis and conversations with partners, we heard the need for more granular data, and today’s data release provides us all new opportunities to target and engage eligible families who may qualify for EBB but haven’t yet enrolled," Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said in a statement.

How it works: The $3 billion program was created to help families facing financial hardship pay for internet service during the pandemic.

  • Eligible households, including those that receive federal food assistance or Pell Grants, can sign up through one of the more than 1,000 participating providers.
  • So far, about $378 million has been claimed since the program began in May.

Yes, but: There have been obstacles to more widespread participation, experts tell Axios, including:

  • Lack of awareness or robust outreach in marketing the program.
  • Lack of trust that the program will do what it claims. "People already have a mistrust of [internet service providers], and a mistrust of government programs," Brandon Forester, national organizer for internet rights and platform accountability at Media Justice, told Axios.
  • Confusion over how the plans work, what happens if the funding runs out or how to prove eligibility have also come up.

What they're saying: "It's not something that you're just going to create a program and all of a sudden everybody's going to know about it, everybody's going to trust it, everybody's going to be able to sign up for it," Forester said.

  • "We have to try to see if we can get resources to people who are doing the work at the local level, but we also have to know that this is not going to be something that we just turn on and it's just over."

What's next: The infrastructure bill would replace the EBB with a new $14 billion Affordable Connectivity Fund and includes money for digital equity programs.

  • "Affordability is the dominant barrier to broadband adoption, so having a subsidized offer is essential," Angela Siefer, executive director of the National Digital Inclusion Alliance, told Axios. "We just have to figure out the particulars of how to make it work. We know some of it, but there's probably more barriers and we have to keep learning."

Go deeper

Biden names Jessica Rosenworcel first female leader of FCC

Jessica Rosenworcel. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call

President Joe Biden on Tuesday nominated Jessica Rosenworcel to be chairwoman of the Federal Communications Commission, Alan Davidson to be head of the telecom arm of the Commerce Department, and Gigi Sohn to be commissioner at the FCC.

Why it matters: Internet availability and affordability has been a key policy priority for the White House, but the administration lagged in tapping people for the agency posts that oversee the issues.

Rent relief flows

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

More renters got help last month, as the Treasury Department released a record amount of emergency rental assistance.

Why it matters: After an initially slow rollout of the Treasury program, the Biden administration over the summer put pressure on states to speed up disbursements.

Texas House probes school library books dealing with race and sexuality

Photo: Brittany Murray/MediaNews Group/Long Beach Press-Telegram via Getty Images

Texas state Rep. Matt Krause (R), chair of the Texas House Committee on General Investigating, announced Wednesday that he's initiating a probe into schools' library books, according to a letter sent to the state's education agency and other superintendents.

Why it matters: The probe focuses on books that discuss race, sexuality, or "make students feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress because of their race or sex," Krause wrote in the letter.