Gov. Cox recently announced a statewide initiative to increase awareness of the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), a long-term benefit to help eligible households pay for highspeed internet.
The ACP is a $14.2 billion federal broadband benefit funded by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, and administered by the Federal Communications Commission, that provides eligible households with a monthly discount of up to $30 per month (up to $75 per month for households on qualifying tribal lands) and a one-time $100 discount toward a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet.
Over 348,596 Utah households are eligible for the ACP, while only 16% of those eligible have enrolled.
“High-speed internet access is just as essential to our prosperity today as highways were a century ago, but affordability is the number one barrier to closing the digital divide,” said Gov. Cox. “The Affordable Connectivity Program and the historic investments in closing the digital divide will help thousands of households get online and empower people to build the skills they need to succeed in the 21st-century digital economy.”
The “ACP Act Now: Utah” initiative unites a broad coalition of 53 partner cities, community-based organizations, and trusted institutions in partnership with EducationSuperHighway, the national nonprofit with a mission to close the broadband affordability gap.
The coalition of partners will have access to resources to help them overcome the complex awareness, trust, and enrollment barriers that prevent households in the nation’s most under-resourced communities from enrolling. Resources include email marketing templates, social media content, and a pre-enrollment tool, GetACP.org/Utah. Local community leaders can use these resources to promote the ACP and help eligible families enroll.
Six local organizations/entities have been awarded grant funds to conduct ACP outreach.
- Catholic Community Services of Utah has been awarded $135,140 through the National Competitive Outreach program
- Salt Lake County has been awarded $169,716 through the ACP Navigator Pilot program
- Santaquin City Library has been awarded $26,760 through the National Competitive Outreach program
- Utah Community Action Partnership Association has been awarded $400,000 through the National Competitive Outreach program
- Utah State University has been awarded $400,000 through the National Competitive Outreach Program and $66,689 through the Tribal Competitive Outreach program
- Utah Paiute Tribal Housing Authority has been awarded $50,000 through the ACP Your Home, Your Internet Pilot program
If you need assistance or are interested in participating, please contact the appropriate entity.
ACP-eligible households include families with incomes at or below 200% of the federal poverty level and those who qualify for Lifeline, SNAP, Free and Reduced-Price School Lunch, WIC, and other government-funded programs. The new initiative will leverage state channels to directly promote the ACP to households in these programs and unite local governments, community-based organizations, and trusted institutions to reach unconnected households.
“The Affordable Connectivity Program can bring high-speed home internet to hundreds of thousands of unconnected Utah households,” said Evan Marwell, CEO of EducationSuperHighway. “We applaud Gov. Cox’s leadership in accelerating the adoption of this valuable program to increase economic opportunity in the state.”
EducationSuperHighway will support statewide awareness by training community leaders and partner
organizations and providing outreach materials and tools to help households enroll. The nonprofit recently launched GetACP.org/Utah, a virtual mobile assistant that simplifies ACP enrollment by providing real-time support to help eligible households determine the easiest way to qualify. The mobile website is available in four languages. It helps applicants overcome critical barriers in the enrollment process by assisting them in identifying the documents needed when applying and finding free broadband plans available in their area with the ACP benefit.
Combined with commitments by internet service providers to deliver high-speed internet plans for no more than $30 per month, eligible households can receive high-speed internet at no cost by pairing their ACP benefit with one of these “free with ACP” broadband plans.