The internet is a powerful tool. It connects us to information, resources and communities around the world and outside our front door. But for many families in Colorado, it’s a tool that comes at too high a cost.
The White House’s Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) is a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) benefit program established to help households afford the broadband they need for work, school, healthcare, and more. Since 2022, the ACP has successfully supported over 18 million American households by providing affordable or zero-cost broadband access. Despite its success, only 24% of eligible households in Colorado have enrolled.
On May 25, Maiker Housing Partners and Community Economic Defense Project (CEDP) hosted Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Commissioner Geoffrey Starks; U.S. Senator John Hickenlooper; Selena Shepherd, a Maiker Community Member and Organizing Intern; Monique Bowman, a Maiker Community Member and Community Ambassador; and Caitlin Schubert, Affordable Connectivity Supervisor, CEDP, as well as several other local leaders to discuss the importance of internet connectivity in Adams County.
“The configuration of people here at this table shows how important housing and broadband is for all Colordans. It demonstrates that these problems are not solved in isolation,” said Senator Hickenlooper.
During this roundtable discussion, Commissioner Starks announced the launch of the FCC’s new initiative, “Your Home, Your Internet”. This one-year pilot program was created by the FCC to increase enrollment, and expand awareness of ACP among federal housing assistance recipients through targeted outreach and support navigating the enrollment process.
“There are three major issues that cause the digital divide: access, digital literacy and affordability,” said Commissioner Starks. “Where broadband connectivity numbers are really low is public housing. That’s why I’m here. To show that the FCC is invested in you.”
“The ‘Your Home, Your Internet’ program will help provide financial security to not only families served by Maiker Housing Partners in Adams County but will provide affordable internet access to thousands of families all across the Front Range,” shared Caitlin Schubert, Affordable Connectivity Supervisor for CEDP.
As grant recipients for the “Your Home, Your Internet” initiative, Maiker and CEDP were selected to receive a $557,000 grant from the FCC to offer internet access to 1,000 eligible households in Adams County and 9,000 households along the Front Range. This is the largest grant awarded in the program so far.
“I used to have to go to coffee shops and pay for drinks to use the internet,” said Selena Shepard, Maiker community member and organizing intern. “It’s so important when it comes to equity in our communities.”
The benefit provides a discount of up to $30 per month toward internet service for eligible households. 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.
With Your Home, Your Internet, Maiker members will be able to access the resources they need at a cost that fits into their budget. We are honored to partner with local and national leaders to advance the ACP and bridge the digital divide in Adams County.
“As an anchor institution in Adams County, it’s our obligation to be a hub of opportunity for people. We’re here to listen and be here for people,” said Peter LiFari. “The Your Home, Your Internet Program and the Affordable Connectivity Program play a vital role in bridging the digital divide, empowering low-income individuals, and driving prosperity. Maiker is excited to collaborate with key stakeholders to dismantle barriers and ensure equitable access to opportunities for all.”
To learn more about the Affordable Connectivity Program that began on June 1, 2023, call 303-276-5705 or email ACP@CEDProject.org.
*Household Eligibility information:
A household is eligible for the Affordable Connectivity Program if the household income is at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines, or if a member of the household meets at least one of the criteria below:
- Received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year;
- Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating provider’s existing low-income internet program;
- Participates in one of these assistance programs:
- Free and Reduced-Price School Lunch Program or School Breakfast Program, including at U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Community Eligibility Provision schools.
- Federal Housing Assistance, including:
- Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program (Section 8 Vouchers)