What’s the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) and why should you care?
The ACP was created through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law with the aim of lowering the cost of internet for students and families. Who wouldn’t grab that opportunity, right? Well, millions of eligible households are actually still unenrolled, but this can change by ensuring that every eligible household can get connected.
Online For All is rallying corporate, philanthropic, government, community-based, and national organizations to meet this moment. The ACP Week of Action, taking place June 14 to 22, 2023 to bring together organizations and leaders from all sectors – from ACP outreach to installment to adoption – to spread awareness of this program, help households enroll, and share the story of how ACP is helping close the digital divide.
When households lack internet connectivity, the lack access to numerous services, resources, and opportunities. Internet connection is healthcare; civic and economic engagement; entertainment, culture, and community. Online For All captures this in some impactful statistics:
- Higher home broadband adoption rates increase standardized test scores across the board, with higher gains for Black, Latino, and low-income students. (Telecommunications Policy)
- Twenty-five percent of African American and 24% of low-income teens said they were sometimes or often unable to complete homework because they did not have access to a reliable computer or internet connection.
(Multimedia Media, Telecom, & Internet Council)
- Even after controlling for a host of other socioeconomic factors, a 1% increase in broadband access across the US reduced Covid mortality by approximately 19 deaths per 100,000, all things equal.
- The impact was even more stark in urban areas—in metro counties alone, a 1% increase in broadband access reduced Covid mortality by 36 deaths per 100,000, holding all else constant.
- People who qualify for jobs that require even one digital skill can earn an average of 23 percent more than those working in jobs requiring no digital skills — an increase of $8,000 per year for an individual worker.
(National Skills Coalition)
- Nearly one-third of U.S. workers do not have foundational digital skills, and workers of color fall disproportionately into this category due to structural inequities.
(National Skills Coalition)
While Online For All is helping us do the work across organizations and silos of work, it’s going to take all of us to ensure every eligible American can get connected.
In the spaces you work and live, ask about people’s home internet access. We all have a story to share about our own struggles with internet access, and can use these to invite others to share their own stories. If you come across someone who would benefit from greater internet access at an affordable rate, invite them to reach out to us at the Carroll Technology & Innovation Council for guidance and point them towards OnlineForAll.org to apply for low-cost internet.
In addition to these life-changing interactions you can spark by starting a conversation about internet access, talk about internet access as the human right it is evolving into. Internet is becoming as essential as a roadway for accessing resources. Help your community get online during ACP Week of Action and every week.