Closing the Digital Divide: The Affordable Connectivity Program on the Ground and in DC

New America’s Open Technology Institute, Public Knowledge, and Network: On

Wednesday, June 14, 2023 - 9:00am to 12:00pm
Live Event
Virtual Event
The Affordable Connectivity Program presents a historic opportunity to address the digital divide in America. 20% of Americans are without robust home broadband, many of whom are low income. The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) has helped connect these unconnected people, making it easier for them to access digital technologies and the economic benefits that flow from connectivity. While 52 million households are eligible for ACP nationwide, only about one-third of them are enrolled, and funding is expected to run out in mid-2024. At the same time, the ACP provides the kind of incentive needed to keep internet service providers (ISPs) engaged in the roll-out of broader Broadband investments in hard to reach communities. The ACP could have a lasting impact on people's ability to access digital technology and the benefits that connectivity produces. The steady progress the U.S. has made in addressing this fundamental challenge of the digital divide, is in danger of backsliding without stakeholder collaboration to find a long-term funding solution.

The event will feature two panels: the first spotlights on-the-ground ACP practitioners from states and cities across the U.S. who will highlight the program’s successes and lessons learned. The second panel will offer a national perspective on large-scale bipartisan initiatives aimed at closing the digital divide and advancing digital equity. 

Panel 1: ACP Practitioners

 - Angela Siefer, NDIA (moderator)
 Angie Cooper, Heartland Forward
 - Abe Camez, Hoopa Valley Tribe
 - Natali Betancur, Center for Digital Equity and Queens University Charlotte
 Alisa Valentin, National Urban League

Panel 2: The Future of the ACP

 Anita Banerji, Leadership Conference (moderator)
 - Kathryn de Wit, Pew Charitable Trusts
 Joshua Stager, Free Press
 Jonathan Cannon, R Street
 - Joel Thayer, Digital Progress Institute

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