The US Federal Communications Commission wants to make sure eligible Americans can get internet service through the Affordable Connectivity Program, an initiative the agency calls the nation’s “newest and largest” broadband affordability program. On Friday, the FCC said it plans to award roughly $66 million in grants to help drive awareness of, and enrollment in, the ACP.
The grants are going to nearly 200 organizations to fund outreach programs that will target historically underserved and unserved communities. The groups will be able to use grant funds to “conduct digital campaigns, door-to-door canvassing, operate phone banks, distribute direct mail, host ACP application enrollment and outreach events,” said the FCC.
“The Affordable Connectivity Program is the nation’s largest-ever broadband affordability effort, supporting internet connections in more than 16 million households,” FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said in a release. “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.”
The FCC is also planning on releasing an improved version of the online consumer application in the coming weeks that will simplify the application and enrollment process, the commission said in a release.
The ACP program replaced the Emergency Broadband Benefit program, which sought to help low income individuals and families during the pandemic, in 2021. The program provides eligible households with a discount of up to $30 per month toward internet services and up to $75 per month for households on qualifying tribal lands. The program also provides eligible households with a onetime discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer or tablet from participating providers if they contribute $10 to $50 toward the purchase price.
For more on broadband, here’s CNET’s list of the best high-speed internet service providers of 2023.