Today, the San Francisco Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development (MOHCD) joined representatives from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), the San Francisco Public Library, and community leaders to announce Connect San Francisco, a citywide initiative to raise awareness and increase enrollment in the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), a long-term federal benefit helping lower-income families afford high-speed internet.
An estimated 124,000 households in San Francisco are eligible for the ACP, however only 32,000 (26%) are currently enrolled. In partnership with EducationSuperHighway, a national non-profit with a mission to close the broadband affordability gap, Connect San Francisco builds a coalition of local stakeholders and trusted institutions to increase awareness about the ACP and overcome barriers to enrollment.
“Without high-speed internet access at home, students can’t complete schoolwork outside the classroom, and households can’t work remotely, access healthcare, job training, the social safety net, or critical government services,” said Reymon LaChaux, Digital Equity Manager at MOHCD. “Ensuring that San Franciscans have equitable access to high quality, reliable, and affordable internet is the first step to bridging the digital divide,”
The ACP is a $14.2 billion federal broadband benefit funded through the Congressional budget and administered by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that provides eligible households with a discount of up to $30 per month.
ACP-eligible households include families with incomes at or below 200% of the federal poverty level and those who qualify for Lifeline, SNAP, Free and Reduced-Price School Lunch, WIC, and other government-funded programs. The new initiative will leverage city and community partner channels to directly promote the ACP to households in these programs and unite community-based organizations and trusted institutions to reach unconnected households.
EducationSuperHighway will support citywide awareness efforts by training community leaders and partner organizations and providing outreach materials and tools to help households enroll. The non-profit recently launched GetACP.org, a virtual mobile assistant that simplifies the ACP enrollment process by providing real-time support to help eligible households determine the easiest way to qualify.
"Every household deserves the opportunity to improve their quality of life with access to high-speed internet. The Affordable Connectivity Program can help connect families struggling to afford broadband and deliver tangible change for our most under-resourced communities," said Evan Marwell, CEO of EducationSuperHighway. "We must work with community-based organizations and trusted institutions to reach those who are eligible. We applaud the City of San Francisco for its work to amplify awareness and enrollment in this critical benefit.”
The initiative kicks off with an enrollment event hosted by the SF Tech Council, taking place during SF Tech Week. Produced by a coalition of two dozen community partners in an effort led by the San Francisco Public Library, this year's Tech Week (May 7-13) features opportunities for hundreds of San Franciscans to attend classes and workshops to build their skills and explore emerging technology, with technical assistance available in five languages.
"The San Francisco Public Library is dedicated to closing the digital divide. As one of the largest free providers of high-speed internet in the community, the library provides free computer and Wi-Fi access and, of course, digital literacy training,” said City Librarian Michael Lambert. “People who take advantage of the ACP's home internet subsidy will have 24-hour access to thousands of library offerings. We are proud to coordinate SF Tech Week again this year and excited to feature opportunities for people to learn more about the ACP benefit.”
To-date, more than two dozen local community-based organizations have signed on as partners of the Connect San Francisco initiative.
- Code Tenderloin
- Common Sense
- Community Living Campaign
- Community Tech Network
- Curry Senior Center
- Digital Mobility
- Independent Living Resource Center San Francisco
- Jewish Vocational Service (JVS)
- Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly - San Francisco Chapter
- Mission Bit
- Necessary Essentials of Life
- Parents for Public Schools of San Francisco
- Positive Resource Center (PRC)
- San Francisco Tech Council
- Self-Help for the Elderly
- SF LGBT Center
- St. Anthony Foundation
- Tech Exchange
- The Richmond Neighborhood Center
- Trinity Foster Family Services of the Bay Area
- Urban Services YMCA Service Connector Program