The FCC is addressing continuing issues with take up in the Affordable Connectivity low-income broadband program with the allocation of $7.445 million for two one-year pilot outreach grant programs.
The ACP is a $14.2 billion program that provides a $30 discount towards Internet service to eligible low-income households. The discount is $75 on Tribal lands.
In all, 32 programs were awarded funding. Twenty-three of these are from the Your Home, Your Internet Program ($4.995 million funding allocation) and nine are from the ACP Navigator Pilot Program ($2.449 million).
The programs will test a number of approaches and work with trusted third parties to help consumers complete and submit applications. Late last November, the FCC released a notice of funding opportunity for the Your Home Your Internet program. Applications were due on January 9.
The Your Home Your Internet and ACP Navigator programs are two of four complementary programs that the FCC announced in November 2022 to promote the ACP.
Last week, the FCC awarded $66 million in funding to 197 community and government organizations through the other two programs.
“These outreach grants are a powerful tool to help us reach communities that could benefit from the Affordable Connectivity Program,” Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said in a press release about the grants to promote the ACP low-income broadband program.
“We want families that could use help with their internet bills to know about this largest-ever broadband affordability program, now supporting internet connections in nearly 17 million households. Our goal is to get everyone connected, everywhere as we continue our work to close the digital divide.”
Twenty service providers have agreed to discount service for ACP eligible households in a way that combines with the discounts to make service free. Participants also can get one-time discounts of as much as $100 toward a laptop or desktop computer or tablet if they contribute between $10 and $50 toward the purchase.
Efforts to push participation in the ACP would appear to be needed. Earlier this month, The Pew Charitable Trusts cited statistics indicating that uptake of the program is as low as 25% of eligible households.