Participation in the digital world continues to be a high priority following the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) provides qualified households up to $30 a month off internet service bills with a $75 discount for households on Hawaiian Home Lands. The program is funded through the $65 billion Infrastructure Investments and Jobs Act that was passed by Congress in November 2021.
The ACP is helping to build digital equity so Hawai‘i residents can work remotely, take classes online, receive telehealth consults, access government services, and are able to participate in more activities. This is only possible with a reliable and stable broadband internet connection, a working device, and the digital literacy skills to succeed with this technology.
Currently, more than 29,000 households across Hawai‘i are enrolled in the ACP, providing more than $7 million in benefits locally. It is estimated that more than 100,000 Hawai‘i households could qualify for the ACP. To see the full list of ACP eligibility details and participating Hawaii internet service providers, visit http://broadband.hawaii.gov/acp/.
At a recent series of digital literacy classes offered by the Broadband Hui at the Wai‘anae Coast Comprehensive Health Center, kūpuna were able to learn about computer literacy and how to access the ACP application, which was created in response to COVID-19.
Thanks to a number of organizations that have supported these classes, including the Hawai‘i State Public Libraries, Kamehameha Schools, Area Health Education Center, the Kūpuna Collective, Hawaiian Hope, Lanakila Pacific, Digital Ready Hawai‘i, and many others, these classes are becoming the hub of technology learning and instrumental in achieving our digital equity goals.
“Grassroots efforts like these are building the momentum to bring us all into the 21st century,” said David Ige. “Whether it’s broadband affordability programs, access to devices, digital literacy instruction and most importantly, the environment that builds confidence and dignity, this has the potential to help thousands of kamaʻaina gain access to the digital world.”