Georgia Technology Authority Launches Statewide Initiative to Increase Affordable Connectivity Program Adoption

Staff Report

Monday, May 22nd, 2023

The Georgia Technology Authority (GTA) today launched a statewide initiative aimed at raising awareness about the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), a program designed to assist lower-income families in paying for high-speed internet.

The ACP provides eligible households with a monthly discount of up to $30 per month and a one-time $100 discount toward a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet. While 1.6 million Georgia households are eligible for the ACP, only 34% of those eligible have enrolled so far.

In partnership with EducationSuperHighway, a national non-profit working to close the broadband affordability gap, we are building a coalition of local stakeholders and trusted institutions to overcome complex awareness, trust, and enrollment barriers that prevent households in the nation's most in-need communities from enrolling.

Without high-speed internet access at home, Georgia students can’t complete schoolwork outside the classroom, and households can’t work remotely, or access healthcare, job training, the social safety net, or critical government services.

“Broadband is one of the most transformative technologies of our generation, but many people are left behind because they don’t have reliable, affordable access to the internet,” said Jessica Simmons, Deputy State Chief Information Officer for Broadband and Special Projects. “The Affordable Connectivity Program covers most, and in many cases all, of the cost of high-speed internet for millions of eligible American families. This initiative provides a great opportunity for us to work together to expand outreach and get more Georgians connected.”

The new initiative will utilize state outreach channels to directly raise awareness about the ACP among households, while also fostering collaboration between local governments, community-based organizations, and trusted institutions. The goal is to effectively reach unconnected Georgians and ensure they have access to the benefits of the ACP.

To support these critical organizations, GTA's broadband team will host a virtual ACP Enrollment Certification Drive from June 5th through the 8th, calling on 200 Georgians to answer the call and become enrollment specialists. The drive aims to equip individuals who are committed to making a difference with the necessary knowledge and resources to assist others in enrolling for the ACP and subscribing to high-speed home internet plans. Participants will have the opportunity to complete a free virtual training, empowering them to become certified ACP enrollment specialists. With their certification in hand, they will be well-prepared to make a positive and lasting impact in their communities.

Additionally, EducationSuperHighway will support statewide awareness efforts by providing outreach materials and tools to help households enroll. The non-profit recently launched, 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. The mobile website is available in four languages and helps applicants overcome critical barriers in the enrollment process by helping them identify the documents needed when applying and find "free with ACP" broadband plans available at their address.

"Closing the digital divide starts with ensuring every eligible American household knows about the Affordable Connectivity Program, can easily enroll, and then sign up for high-speed internet service," said Evan Marwell, CEO of EducationSuperHighway. "We applaud the Georgia Technology Authority’s leadership for raising awareness of this critical program in the state’s most unconnected communities."

Over 100 coalition partners are joining the initiative including local governments, community organizations, businesses and service providers who are committed to bridging the digital divide in Georgia. We are proud to have such strong support for this important initiative and are confident that our partnership will make a significant impact in connecting more families to the internet.