Understanding and Driving Enrollment in the Affordable Connectivity Program
Fitting the monthly cost of a broadband subscription into a low-income household budget is difficult, to say the least, because of the costs of competing necessities like lodging, food, and healthcare. These financial pressures—and unexpected expenses—keep too many people in the U.S. from subscribing to home broadband service—or cause them to drop service at times to make ends meet. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Congress recognized these obstacles for low-income people and created a program—first called the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program—to reduce the monthly costs of connectivity.
Sens. Wicker, Luján, Young, Kelly Reintroduce Bill to Explore Collecting USF Contributions from Big Tech
US Senators Roger Wicker (R-MS), Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), Todd Young (R-IN), and Mark Kelly (D-AZ), reintroduced the Funding Affordable Internet with Reliable (FAIR) Contributions Act (S.856). The legislation would direct the Federal Communications Commission to conduct a study into the feasibility of collecting Universal Service Fund (USF) contributions from internet edge providers. Among other provisions, The FAIR Contributions Act would:
Enrollment Hurdles Limit Uptake for FCC’s Affordable Connectivity Program
The Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) provides the primary subsidy available to cover broadband subscription costs for low-income households, but only 1 in 4 eligible households have enrolled in the ACP since it launched in 2021.
Pennsylvania Broadband Development Authority Seeking Public Input on Community Engagement Efforts
Pennsylvania Broadband Development Authority Executive Director Brandon Carson is asking Pennsylvanians to provide input on the stakeholder engagement process for developing two plans: the State Digital Equity Plan and the Commonwealth’s Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Five-Year Action Plan. The two-week public comment period began on February 27 and ends Friday, March 10, 2023. The State Digital Equity Stakeholder Engagement Plan will focus on engaging eight primary populations required through federal guidance – aging individuals, incarcerated individuals, veterans, indivi
Partnership to bridge digital divide for seniors in Arkansas
AARP Arkansas and ARConnect, the state’s broadband office, are teaming up to bridge the digital divide in the Natural State. Glen Howie, state broadband director, attended AARP Arkansas’ Advocacy Team meeting to provide a deeper dive into broadband infrastructure deployment and how it will benefit Arkansans.
NTIA Needs to Hear From You About Two New Digital Equity Programs
On March 1, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) sought public comment on the design and implementation of two components of the Digital Equity Act of 2021 (a part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act): the $1.44 billion State Digital Equity Capacity Grant Program and the $1.25 billion Digital Equity Competitive Grant Program.
Digital Equity Act of 2021 Request for Comments
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021 includes a historic investment of $65 billion to help close the digital divide and ensure that everyone in America has access to affordable, reliable, high-speed Internet service. The Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) is responsible for distributing more than $48 billion in funding through several different programs.
Digital Opportunities Compass
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), which includes the Digital Equity Act of 2021 (DEA), establishes a broad framework and significant funding to advance broadband connectivity and digital equity. The law recognizes key factors and populations to address when striving for digital equity. To fully realize the full benefits of digital technology for individuals, communities, and society at large additional insights are needed. The Digital Opportunities Compass is an holistic framework for broadband and digital equity planning, implementation and evaluation.
Chicago Digital Equity Plan
Nearly 172,000 Chicago households (over 15%) don’t have internet at home, and nearly 92,000 (roughly 8%) don’t have any device, including a computer, laptop, tablet, or smart mobile device.
Minnesotans Urged to Play Role in Digital Equity Plan
The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development's Office of Broadband Development (OBD) is developing a digital equity plan to create improvements in internet affordability, access to internet-enabled devices, and ways to provide digital skills training. We want to hear from Minnesotans most impacted by the digital access and skills gap to ensure our digital equity plan reflects the goals and needs of all Minnesotans. This plan will help us determine how to spend federal funding coming in 2024 aimed at increasing digital access and skills.