TOPEKA – Governor Laura Kelly today announced a statewide initiative to increase awareness of the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), a program that helps lower-income families pay for high-speed internet. The ACP is a $14.2 billion federal broadband benefit that provides eligible households a monthly discount of up to $30 per month (up to $75 per month for households on qualifying Tribal lands) and a one-time $100 discount toward a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet.
There are 438,634 Kansas households eligible for the ACP, yet only 93,244 (21%) of those eligible have enrolled.
“Access to high-speed internet in today’s economy isn’t a luxury – it’s a necessity,” Governor Laura Kelly said. “The Affordable Connectivity Program makes it easier for families in both rural and urban areas to access essential digital tools – something that’s essential as Kansas continues to work toward being a top 10 state for broadband access by 2030. More Kansans need to know about it.”
“The Kelly Administration is firmly committed not only to ensuring broadband connectivity is made available to all Kansans,” Lieutenant Governor and Secretary of Commerce David Toland said, “but that it is affordable as well. ACP helps reduce that barrier for individuals who need the help.”
In partnership with EducationSuperHighway, a national non-profit with a mission to close the broadband affordability gap, the governor’s initiative will build a broad coalition of local stakeholders, service providers, non-profit organizations, and higher learning institutions to overcome the barriers that prevent households in under-resourced communities from enrolling.
“It will require all of these partners working together to bridge the digital divide that exists in Kansas,” Director of Broadband Development Jade Piros de Carvalho said. “The ACP is another important step at increasing broadband access across the state and will result in more connected Kansans.”
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.
Combined with commitments by Internet Service Providers to deliver high-speed internet plans for no more than $30 per month, eligible households can receive high-speed internet at no cost by pairing their ACP benefit with one of these “free with ACP” broadband plans.
“Kansas is leading the way in closing the digital divide by ensuring eligible households know about the Affordable Connectivity Program, can easily enroll, and then sign up for high-speed internet service,” EducationSuperHighway CEO Evan Marwell said. “We applaud Governor Kelly’s bold leadership in removing the barriers that keep millions unconnected.”
EducationSuperHighway will support statewide awareness by training community leaders and partner organizations and providing outreach materials to help households enroll. The non-profit recently launched getacp.org/kansas to simplify the ACP enrollment process by helping eligible households determine the easiest way to qualify and learn more about “free with ACP” broadband plans available at their address.