Save The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP)

“Too often Congress is addicted to the drama of the last-minute deal. No matter how easy the decision before them, our national legislators like to wait until it’s almost too late before they do their jobs. The current issue perched on the edge of the congressional cliff is the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), a cost-effective, bipartisan government plan that helps low-income families get access to the internet that they need to lead more productive and successful lives.”

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Verizon Innovative Learning reaches 7 million students nationwide to tackle digital divide

“Verizon announced that Verizon Innovative Learning, the company’s award-winning education initiative focused on supporting digital equity and inclusion for students nationwide, has reached seven million students with digital skills training. According to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), there are still nearly 17 million school children in the U.S. that lack internet access at home. That’s why, over a decade ago, Verizon Innovative Learning was launched to address barriers to digital inclusion in Title I schools. With leading education partners, we empower students with new ways of learning through extensive support for educators, technology-integrated curriculum, emerging technologies including 5G, and free internet access. We have expanded access to our education programs to all nationwide through free immersive applications for any device, microcredential-aligned professional development, and tech-focused learning resources.”

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FCC Survey Finds Majority of ACP Participants Didn’t Have Quality Internet Access Before

“A majority of beneficiaries of the Affordable Connectivity Program did not have quality internet access prior to the program’s inception, according to a new survey commissioned by the Federal Communications Commission. The December 2023 survey shows 68 percent of subsidy program’s participants had “inconsistent connectivity or zero connectivity” before signing up for the ACP. Of this group, 80 percent claimed affordability as the main barrier to connectivity. Roughly 47 percent of respondents and 53 percent of rural respondents claim they primarily relied on mobile service for internet connection prior to participating in the ACP.”

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More than 17M low-income households will experience service disruptions if internet subsidy ends

“The Federal Communications Commission on Thursday warned that as many as three-quarters, or more than 17 million, of the 23 million households who participate in the Affordable Connectivity Program could see disruptions to their internet access should the program end. Funding for the ACP, which provides a $30-a-month subsidy to eligible low-income households for internet access, is set to run out at the end of April unless Congress provides more money to continue it. The FCC, which surveyed ACP households in December, also found that more than two-thirds of respondents had inconsistent or zero connectivity prior to enrolling in the program. Of that group, 80% cited affordability as the reason.”

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Congress can’t let affordable broadband slip away

“In less than two months, if Congress does not act, tens of millions of people could find themselves unable to stay connected to high-speed internet. Thanks to the Affordable Connectivity Program, low-income Americans who qualify can choose from a variety of services and carriers in their area, applying a $30 discount, or $75 on tribal lands, in the form of a tech-neutral voucher. This high-speed connectivity allows thousands of individuals from Texas to Vermont to start businesses, stay in touch with family, book telehealth appointments, and more.”

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‘$30 Goes a Long Way’: SNAP Households and the Affordable Connectivity Program

  • “In late April, funding for the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) is expected to run out, endangering three critical years of progress in closing the digital divide. Recently, we surveyed over 1,700 ACP-enrollees who use the Providers app about what the broadband benefit has meant to them and how their lives will change if it expires. Here’s what we found:
    1. Nearly one-quarter of low-income households surveyed said that they would stop internet services altogether if ACP funding were to expire.
    2. Survey respondents use the internet for essential everyday activities, including work/job opportunities (44%), education (40%), health care (41%), online banking (48%), accessing government services (53%), finding food (33%).
    3. 58% of respondents say that affording internet access is at least somewhat difficult, even with the ACP.
    4. 60% of respondents are first-time subscribers to internet service through the ACP.
  • The takeaway is clear: Unless the ACP is extended, families will have to make impossible tradeoffs between essential expenses or lose internet services altogether.”

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Opinion: We Must Close the Digital Divide in America

“According to a 2023 article in Forbes, 42 million Americans have no access to broadband. In our interconnected world, lack of broadband feeds the digital divide, and if you think that doesn’t affect you, well, you’re wrong. I am talking to you, the Midwestern farmer, the single mother of three in Chicago, the family-man rancher in Texas, the free-spirited woman in Vermont, the high-flying executive in New York, the hardworking immigrant in New Mexico, the coal miner in Kentucky, the snowbird in Florida, the artist in San Francisco and the homeowner in every American suburb. Stereotypes like these aside, closing the digital divide is an imperative that demands the attention of every individual. By focusing on closing this divide for all households, we pave the way for a safer, more prosperous and united society. Embracing this endeavor benefits America, as it strengthens national security, enhances public safety, reduces dependence on government support, promotes personal freedom and drives economic growth. Uniting in the vision of empowering all families through digital inclusion should matter to you because it benefits you and our nation as a whole.”

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UC Davis Health launches digital inclusion program

UC Davis Health has launched a first-in-the-nation Digital Inclusion Program to bring much-needed technology, connectivity, and health care to underserved populations. The initiative is a collaboration with Verizon Business that aims to bridge the digital gap and reduce health disparities. The goal is to provide underserved populations with free smartphones, tablets and connectivity through hot spots to help them access telehealth care and social services. “The Digital Inclusion Program allows us to expand our presence in some of our most vulnerable populations, allowing them to access resources and critical care in the palm of their hand,” said Ashish Atreja, CIO and chief digital health officer of UC Davis Health. “As a world leader in digital health, UC Davis Health is again breaking the digital divide by creating access for underserved and rural patient populations.”

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Funding at risk for program that helps millions afford internet

“More than 20 million low-income households are at risk of being priced out of internet access unless Congress can reach agreement on funding for a program that provides internet service discounts. Supporters of the Affordable Connectivity Program are pressing for passage of bipartisan, bicameral legislation to keep it afloat past April, when funding is expected to run out. That outcome may depend on Congress’ ability to pass appropriations measures to prevent a government shutdown, and some supporters are worried that it’s not a priority for Republican leadership.”

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FCC Commissioner: Ending affordable internet is a gut punch to US prosperity

“The Affordable Connectivity Program helps 23 million American households afford the internet. But on Feb. 8, the program began winding down due to a lack of funding. Today, new households no longer can enroll. Soon, current households will confront a choice between bill shock and disconnection. We cannot let this happen. Established in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the Affordable Connectivity Program connects low-income households to high-quality internet access service, often for free. Americans in all 50 states use it — from 130,000 households in my home state of Kansas to 1.1 million in Ohio and 270,000 in Nevada.” 

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US Tech Future is a Verizon-led community-focused initiative working to engage the local community in a discussion about technology and how it can improve the lives of local residents for their benefit and the benefit of the community as a whole.

Our mission is to engage with citizens and community stakeholders in USA to provide information on how technology can work to have a dramatic impact on the way we work and live in our communities.