Affordable Connectivity Program
City of Detroit Public Comment
Following the recent signage of the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) several significant changes to Detroit’s digital inclusion landscape are underway. One of the most notable shifts in the implementation of the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). This program will replace the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB). The $14.2 billion allocated to the ACP includes shifts in the number of monthly benefits received for households and more ways for Detroiters to qualify for internet assistance.
Connect 313 Memo
According to the 2020 US Census, 35% of Detroiters meet 100% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines (a household of three that makes $21,960 in annual income). With the expansion of the ACP eligibility criteria to households whose income levels are at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines (about $44,000 in annual income), an even greater number of Detroiters will be eligible for the ACP benefit than before. In 2021, over 80,000 Detroit families took advantage of EBB.
Digital Equity Act of 2021
The Digital Equity Act of 2021 aims to promote a diverse array of digital inclusion projects at the state and local level. These projects may range from providing digital literacy and digital skills education to low-income populations, improving the online accessibility of social services for individuals with disabilities, or more accurately measuring broadband access and adoption in rural communities.
The Digital Equity Act of 2021 establishes two grant programs to be administered by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to promote digital equity nationwide:
- Building Capacity within States through Formula Grants: The Digital Equity Act of 2021
creates an annual $125 million formula grant program for all 50 States, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico to fund the creation and implementation of comprehensive digital equity plans in each State.
- Spurring Targeted Action through Competitive Grants: The Digital Equity Act of 2021 creates an annual $125 million competitive grant program to support digital inclusion projects undertaken by individual groups, coalitions, and/or communities of interest.
- Supporting Research and Evidence-Based Policymaking: The Digital Equity Act of 2021 tasks NTIA with evaluating digital inclusion projects and providing policymakers at the local, state, and federal levels with detailed information about which projects are most effective.