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Affordable Connectivity Program or ACP Benefits and Impact

Home Business Magazine Online

The Affordable Connectivity Program or ACP is a new initiative from the FCC that offers a monthly broadband subsidy to low-income households. The program is designed to help close the digital divide and make sure everyone has access to the internet.

With access to the internet, households are able to gain access to valuable resources for education, livelihood, healthcare, and other essential services.

Here is how the acp benefits communities and creates impacts in communities nationwide.

1. Increased internet access for low-income communities

The FCC’s Affordable Connectivity Program has had a positive impact on low-income communities by increasing affordable access to internet services. According to the most recent data, the program has helped to increase broadband adoption and reported millions of sign-ups on a weekly basis since its launch.

The jump in the number of houses signing up is also due to other government initiatives related to the ACP. The state of Louisiana for example has created the Granting Unserved Municipalities Broadband Opportunities or GUMBO grant. The grant provides funding for private companies to bring broadband infrastructure to rural communities previously unserved by internet service providers.

2. Improved educational opportunities

The recent COVID pandemic has especially taught us the importance of being able to access educational resources at home, via a high-speed broadband connection. During the lockdowns, schools were forced to shift to virtual-based classrooms. Teachers had to make use of video conferencing apps to hold classes online, due to strict no-contact policies in place during the height of the pandemic. Households without proper internet connection would inadvertently be left behind in classes due to poor connection.

In addressing this, the government recognized that affordable connectivity is critical for ensuring that all members of our community have access to the educational opportunities they need to succeed. Through the Affordable Connectivity Program, we have seen an increase in the number of families who are able to connect to the internet at home, positively impacting student learning at home, and allowing easier access to educational resources.

3. Enhanced economic development

The Affordable Connectivity Program is also impacting economic development in rural areas and low-income communities. By increasing access to high-speed broadband, the ACP has helped to create job opportunities for individuals through remote work, as well as business opportunities for small-time entrepreneurs. And due to the availability of broadband in what used to be unserved locations, new businesses and investments are slowly being attracted by these participating communities.

4. Improved digital literacy

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the ACP also impacts communities by addressing the lack or gap in digital literacy within underserved communities. Digital literacy is defined by UNESCO as the ability to effectively use Information and Communications Technology (ICT) to understand, evaluate, create and communicate digital information.

Through the ACP, communities also are able to gain access to digital literacy resources sponsored by public and private organizations. These resources come in the form of information campaigns and practical training on how to use digital devices such as computers, and tablets, and also in the use of essential applications.

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