Spread the Word about the Affordable Connectivity Program

by Mitch Coppes, Government Relations Senior Specialist, Goodwill Industries International

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the lack of affordable high-speed internet service in many households across the country has made it difficult for millions of Americans to access virtual training, find jobs and build their digital skills. A 2021 Pew Research Center survey found that 15 percent of home broadband users reported having trouble paying for their internet service during the pandemic, including 34 percent of those with household incomes of less than $30,000 a year. At a time when low-income families need to be able to get online to live, work and learn, the struggle to access affordable broadband internet in unserved and underserve communities continues to fuel the nation’s digital divide.

As part of the federal government’s efforts to help extend essential connectivity to people in need, Congress authorized $14.2 billion in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act for the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). The ACP provides a discount of up to $30 per month toward home internet service for eligible households (up to $75 per month for those on Tribal lands), and participants can also receive a one-time discount of up to $100 toward the purchase of a laptop, desktop computer or tablet. Individuals and families may be eligible to enroll in the ACP if they have a household income below 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Line, or if someone in the household receives other government benefits like SNAP, Medicaid, Pell Grants, or Free and Reduced Price School Lunch.

More than 11 million households have already signed up to receive the ACP benefit, but there are millions more that are eligible and have not yet taken advantage of this opportunity. Goodwill® and other community-based organizations can play an important role in ensuring that the people we serve know about this important program and have the information they need to enroll. A community outreach and awareness campaign can include activities like posting about the ACP on social media channels, educating potential recipients on how to check their eligibility and how to submit an application, and sharing informational materials. Learn more about becoming a community outreach partner at AffordableConnectivity.gov. Help spread the word about the ACP!