The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will use four grant programs, worth at least $70 million, to promote its Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) across the country.
The FCC said its outreach effort is looking to enlist “trusted community messengers” to “develop innovative outreach strategies to reach historically unserved and underserved communities.” Through the grant programs, community partners will be provided with the funding needed to increase participation among eligible, low-income households in need of internet connections.
“The success of the Affordable Connectivity Program thus far has taught us some important lessons, and none more valuable than the importance of trusted messengers,” FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said in a recent press release. “Today, we’re building on that progress by offering local organizations additional support from the FCC. Our outreach partners have already demonstrated creativity, perseverance, and a continued commitment to ensuring everyone, everywhere has the internet connections they need, and these outreach grants aim to supercharge those successful efforts.”
The ACP is a $14.2 billion FCC benefit program that was created in December 2021. The ACP replaced the FCC’s previous Emergency Broadband Benefit program, which launched in February 2021 amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The ACP helps ensure that qualifying low-income households can afford the broadband they need. To date, the program has served more than 14 million households. The ACP is looking to expand and diversify its outreach efforts, with the ultimate goal of increasing ACP enrollment.
In its announcement, the FCC debuted the four complementary grant programs:
- National Competitive Outreach Program;
- Tribal Competitive Outreach Program;
- Your Home, Your Internet Program; and
- ACP Navigator Pilot Program.
The FCC also issued a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for up to $60 million for the National Competitive Outreach Program and $10 million for the Tribal Competitive Outreach Program. The FCC said it will follow up with a separate NOFO later this month for the Your Home, Your Internet and ACP Navigator Pilot grant programs. It did not provide financial figures for the last two grant programs.