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What’s New in Digital Equity: Widely Signed Letter Supports the ACP

Plus, San Francisco launches a new initiative to support awareness for the Affordable Connectivity Program; Charter Communications commits another $1 million to a digital education initiative; and more.

An internet concept image showing a small house against a digital backdrop.
This week in “What’s New in Digital Equity” — our weekly look at government digital equity and broadband news — we have a number of interesting items, which you can jump to with the links below:


A total of 230 organizations have signed a letter in support of continued funding for the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), the federal broadband benefit that advocates have said is vital to the future of digital equity in the U.S.

The letter is the work of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, and it was sent to the House and Senate Appropriations committees. Among the groups signing was the National Digital Inclusion Alliance, one of the leading advocacy groups for digital inclusion.

“Lack of high-speed internet access among low-income people, communities of color, and other underserved communities is of particular concern, and the ACP has proven critical in getting households in these communities online,” the groups wrote.

The groups noted that the last three years have shown how important broadband has become for society, including employment, education, health care, commerce, community building, civic engagement and government. To date, the ACP has helped more than 17 million households in the U.S. afford Internet, and it is still enrolling new households steadily. Other stats include more than $500 million being saved by participants. It has also helped 3 million low-income seniors, 400,000 veterans, and more than 3 million students.

“Failure to extend the ACP with new funding could result in the biggest loss of internet connectivity ever. Without action from Congress this year, millions of households could immediately lose service,” the coalition wrote.

They also noted that the ACP is crucial to maximizing the efficiency of the $42 billion investment the federal government is making in broadband through money allocated by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. (Zack Quaintance)


A new citywide initiative in San Francisco aims to provide more than 124,000 households in the city with free or reduced-cost home Internet service.

The initiative, which is a citywide effort called Connect San Francisco, was announced last week by the San Francisco Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development and the San Francisco Public Library, along with community leaders and representatives from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration. It aims to raise awareness and boost enrollment in the Affordable Connectivity Program.

The initiative is a collaboration between local stakeholders, trusted institutions and EducationSuperHighway. More than 20 community-based organizations have already signed on as partners. (Julia Edinger)


Charter Communications Inc. has committed $1 million towards a digital education program, bringing the total of the company’s investment in that work to $9 million.

The program is Spectrum Digital Education, which offers grants to nonprofit groups working on broadband education, training and technology. Those groups can apply for those grants here, with a deadline for applications of June 1. Recipients of the grants will be announced in late summer.

More information about the new investment and the supported program can be found here. (Zack Quaintance)


A new digital literacy program has been launched to help job seekers in the state gain the digital skills needed to meet the needs of the modern workforce — a landscape in which the majority of jobs now require digital skills.

“This new initiative will be a transformative addition to our workforce development efforts, giving all New Yorkers access to the tools necessary to unlock a better future for themselves and their families,” said Gov. Kathy Hochul in the announcement.

The program is made possible through a partnership between the New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL) and Northstar Digital Literacy. According to a 2022 NYSDOL survey, 44 percent of businesses surveyed said basic computer literacy was lacking among job applicants, specifically citing a lack of proficiency in the areas of software like Excel and Word, data analysis, email and typing. This program will assess job seekers’ digital literacy needs and work to fill the gaps. (Julia Edinger)


The Fiber Broadband Association published a comprehensive resource for state broadband offices and state and local workforce and economic development boards to support the work to deploy funding from the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program. The Workforce Development Guidebook aims to help support these entities as they formulate workforce development strategies to leverage the funding this program will make available.

According to this guidebook, 150,000 telecommunications jobs will be created by BEAD. States are required to develop a workforce strategy to obtain and deploy this funding. This guide will offer information on creating an effective broadband workforce development strategy to support these needs. (Julia Edinger)


AT&T and the Public Library Association are teaming on a new online course that seeks to educate parents, caregivers and families about the federal broadband benefits that are available to eligible households.

Specifically, the courses are aimed at teaching people about the programs that provide discounted Internet service from participating providers. The courses are self-paced, all online, and available to interested parties for free. A big part of the focus is on the ACP, and information in the courses includes documents needed to apply, the process of applying and how to use the benefit. The courses are available in both English and Spanish.

Additionally, 50 libraries are slated to use this support to provide in-person workshops about the ACP to their communities. In addition, 215 other libraries will be picked to offer in-person digital literacy workshops about basic digital literacy skills. (Zack Quaintance)
Julia Edinger is a staff writer for Government Technology. She has a bachelor's degree in English from the University of Toledo and has since worked in publishing and media. She's currently located in Southern California.
Associate editor for <i>Government Technology</i> magazine.