The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced that it is targeting roughly $66 million of funding through the Affordable Connectivity Outreach Grant Program to increase awareness and enrollment in the broadband affordability program.
The grants will provide financial support to FCC partner organizations to “serve as trusted community messengers” about the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), and will equip partners with funding needed to “pursue innovative outreach strategies to reach historically underserved and unserved communities.”
The ACP program, created under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, provides a discount of up to $30 per month toward internet service for eligible households, and up to $75 per month for households on qualifying Tribal lands. Eligible households can also receive a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from participating providers if they contribute more than $10 and less than $50 toward the purchase price.
In a press release, the FCC said it reviewed 350 grant applications for the ACP outreach grants before selecting 197 applicants representing 50 states and territories to pursue a wide range of outreach projects.
“Our partner organizations will now be able to use grant funds to conduct digital campaigns, door-to-door canvassing, operate phone banks, distribute direct mail, [and] host ACP application enrollment and outreach events,” the FCC said.
Additionally, the FCC said it will release “enhancements” to the online consumer application in the next few weeks. According to the FCC, the updates will make the application and enrollment process easier to navigate. The updates incorporates feedback from navigators and other stakeholders.
“For many households, the cost of groceries, gas and rent can eat up the monthly budget, putting internet access out of reach,” said FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel. “The Affordable Connectivity Program is the nation’s largest-ever broadband affordability effort, supporting internet connections in more than 16 million households. That’s progress, but we want to do more to get out the word about this powerful program and reach families that may not know about this benefit. These outreach grants will help us expand awareness in more communities, so we can continue the work to close the digital divide.”