FACT SHEET: Biden-Harris Administration and Civic Nation Bring Together Over 300 National and Community Organizations to Help Students and Families Cut Costs and Access Affordable High-Speed Internet
Access to high-speed internet is no longer a luxury – it is a necessity to fully participate in today's society. Still, many students and families go without high-speed internet because of the cost, while others are forced to cut back on other essentials to pay their monthly internet bill. That's why President Biden and Vice President Harris worked with Democrats, Republicans, and Independents to include the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP)—the largest internet affordability program in our nation's history—in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The Affordable Connectivity Program, administered by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), provides eligible households up to $30/month (or up to $75/month on qualifying Tribal lands) off internet bills, as well as a one-time discount of up to $100 off a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet. To further lower costs, President Biden and Vice President Harris secured commitments from internet service providers across the country to offer high-speed internet plans that are fully covered by the Affordable Connectivity Program—meaning millions of working families can now get high-speed internet without paying a dime. Americans can check their eligibility and sign-up at GetInternet.gov.
Today, the Administration announced that Civic Nation and the U.S. Department of Education are launching Online For All, a digital equity campaign working to close the digital divide by focusing on internet access, affordability, and equity for students, families, and all Americans. Online For All will work with nonprofit, government, corporate, and media stakeholders to educate communities about how the Biden-Harris Internet for All Initiative can help them access reliable, affordable high-speed internet.
The partnership is kicking off with a Week of Action to drive enrollment in the Affordable Connectivity Program. Over 18.5 million households are now enrolled, saving a total of over $500 million per month on their high-speed internet bills. This is incredible progress for a program that is just 18 months old, but there's more work to do. Research indicates that approximately half of the remaining qualified Americans are not aware of the program. The Online for All Week of Action will bring together the federal government and over 300 organizations to raise awareness and help eligible families sign-up.
AN "ALL OF GOVERNMENT" EFFORT
The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to continuing to reach qualified Americans and seeing this program continue for years to come. The Administration previously launched an "all of government" ACP enrollment drive. Now, the Administration is taking additional actions to reach eligible Americans, including:
- Vice President Kamala Harris is encouraging Americans to sign-up for the Affordable Connectivity Program at GetInternet.gov in a new video. View the video HERE.
- The FCC and the Universal Service Administration Corporation (USAC) have made significant improvements to the Affordable Connectivity Program application to enhance the consumer experience and make it easier for qualified applicants to enroll, including allowing Pell Grant recipients to apply without having to submit eligibility documentation.
- The Department of Education will notify more than five million Pell Grant recipients of their eligibility for the program, and that they can enroll without eligibility documentation.
- The FCC is launching their paid media efforts with ads and a satellite media tour to spread the word about the Affordable Connectivity Program through radio and television interviews in English and Spanish.
- The FCC is officially kicking off their outreach grant programs with over $73 million in funding to 229 awardees.
- The Department of Education's Deputy Secretary Cindy Marten will send a message about the Affordable Connectivity Program to 84,000 school principals, vice principals, and tech coordinators across the country.
- The Department of Health and Human Services will share information about the Affordable Connectivity Program with Federally Qualified Health Centers and the stakeholders who provide telehealth services.
- The Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the FCC partnered to train USDA State Directors and General Field Representatives on how to help get qualified households enrolled.
- The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will send a letter about the Affordable Connectivity Program to all 3,300+ Public Housing Authorities in the nation to help ensure as many HUD-assisted families have access to quality, high-speed internet as possible.
And Administration officials are hitting the road to spread the word. Today's events include:
- Senior Advisor to the President and White House Infrastructure Coordinator Mitch Landrieu and FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel will kick-off the week with a "train the trainer" event at a library in Towson, Maryland.
- Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona will headline a virtual event with educators alongside the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), the National Education Association (NEA), and the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) to provide them with the tools they need to educate families on this opportunity and keep students connected over the summer.
- Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information Alan Davidson will join New America's Open Technology Institute, Public Knowledge, and Network: On to kick-off a half-day summit on Affordable Connectivity Program enrollment and the future of the program.
- Rural Utilities Service Administrator Andy Berke will be in Ohio at a community college to highlight how students benefit from access to high-speed internet with local organizations that work to enroll their communities in the Affordable Connectivity Program.
A NATION COMING TOGETHER TO CLOSE THE DIGITAL DIVIDE
Over 300 organizations from across the nation are taking action this week as part of the Online For All Week of Action. These efforts will help thousands of new households enroll and drive awareness about how the Affordable Connectivity Program is essential to close the digital divide. Activities include:
- AARP is hosting a tele-town hall with Senior Advisor to the President and White House Director of Public Engagement Steve Benjamin to educate older Americans all across the country about the opportunity to participate in the Affordable Connectivity Program.
- Comcast is participating in over 100 sign-up, awareness, and training activations across the country in 22 states and virtually throughout June. Comcast is furthering its commitment to invest in trusted community-based partners and scale a national network of digital navigators working to connect people to the internet and digital skills.
- Verizon is hosting or participating in more than 50 events and outreach opportunities across 10 states at local community anchor institutions, housing developments, and job fairs during the Week of Action—including an event in Atlanta, Georgia, where the company will pass out bags of free groceries outside a YMCA with information about the Affordable Connectivity Program inside. Verizon will also use its social media channels to help raise awareness about the Online For All campaign.
- Dell Technologies will drive awareness among their nonprofit, business, and community partners as well their K-12 and higher education customers. Dell will also spread the word about Online For All at their Reimagining Digital Equity celebration in Nashville, Tennessee, celebrating the culmination of a four-week program where Dell Technologies' team members joined nonprofit partners to create tangible solutions for challenges the organizations face when confronted with the digital divide.
- Charter is participating in more than 20 events and outreach opportunities across 11 states. These actions will be highlighted with two marquee events, in Milwaukee and Madison, Wisconsin, where Charter will work with community organizations to raise awareness and increase participation in the program.
- AT&T is participating in more than 25 events and outreach opportunities across 8 states and driving awareness through a diverse set of media and marketing platforms.
- The Housing Authority of the City of Brownsville, Texas is hosting an outreach and enrollment event at the Strong Families Community Resource Fair.
- The Louisville Metro Housing Authority in Kentucky is hosting sign-up events at the Parkhill Community Center.
- Link Health, based in Boston, Massachusetts, is leading the Healthcare Day of Action on Friday, June 16 with an event featuring a Veterans Affairs National Social Work Program Special Projects Coordinator at the South End Community Health Center in Boston.
- ConnectLakeCounty is conducting outreach and supporting sign-ups at the Juneteenth Festival/Expo in North Chicago, Illinois.
- The San Diego Housing Commission is hosting an in-person sign-up event with San Diego Futures Foundation in California.
- The Dallas Innovation Alliance is hosting an Affordable Connectivity Program sign-up event at Rhythm & Wires Festival hosted by TEQMuscle in Texas.
- The ARC Foundation: Strengthening Communities is sharing information about the Affordable Connectivity Program at the Oklahoma City Pow Wow Club's Bingo Fundraiser at the Indian Hills powwow grounds in Oklahoma.
- The International Rescue Committee, Inc. (IRC) in San Diego is hosting three Affordable Connectivity Program enrollment events with Burmese, Karen, Afghan, and Haitian clients in San Diego, California.
- Goodwill Industries of Southwest Florida, Inc. will be hosting in-person sign-up events at eight Community Resource Centers in four counties across Southwest Florida.
- The Brooklyn Public Library in New York will be hosting events at four of its Brooklyn Public Library branches.
- The Famicos Foundation in Ohio will host an enrollment event at the Gateway 105 Farmers Market.
- CivicTN and coalition partners including the Memphis A. Philip Randolph Institute are joining in-person community events across the state of Tennessee and in celebration of Juneteenth.
To see a full list of organizations participating in the Online For All Week of Action, or if your organization is interested in participating in the Online for All Week of Action, please go to OnlineForAll.org/Week-of-Action/.
Connecting all communities across the United States to affordable high-speed internet is a central part of President Biden's and Vice President Harris' Investing in America agenda, which is rebuilding our nation's infrastructure, driving new private sector manufacturing investments, and creating good-paying jobs, including those that don't require a four-year degree—rebuilding our economy from the bottom up and middle out. That investment includes Monday's announcement of more than $700 million across 19 states through the ReConnect Program to fund affordable high-speed internet deployment in rural America. And by June 30, the Department of Commerce will announce state and territory allocations for the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) program, which will also require service providers receiving funding to offer a low-cost plan and to participate in the Affordable Connectivity Program.
Joseph R. Biden, FACT SHEET: Biden-Harris Administration and Civic Nation Bring Together Over 300 National and Community Organizations to Help Students and Families Cut Costs and Access Affordable High-Speed Internet Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/363706