In May 2023, Jersey City Housing Authority (JCHA), in partnership with EveryoneOn and the City of Jersey City, announced a new initiative to close the digital divide in Jersey City. As a recipient of grants from the Federal Communication Commission (FCC), the initiative, led by JCHA, aims to build awareness about the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), a long-term federal benefit that will lower the cost of broadband service and help low-income families to afford home internet service.
As of spring 2023, only 37% of eligible Jersey City households are taking advantage of the ACP subsidy due to a lack of awareness, lack of trust in the program, or inability to enroll due to application barriers. JCHA’s project aims to double ACP subscription rates across Jersey City by deploying 12 Digital Navigators to conduct outreach and offer application assistance to eligible households at community events over the span of the next 11 months.
A key component of the initiative will be the creation of a unique public-private partnership that will work to close the broadband affordability gap by promoting ACP enrollment to eligible households.
In Jersey City, the broadband affordability gap is concentrated in the city’s underserved communities and disproportionately impacts people of color, older adults, and low-income households. During the course of this one-year grant period, we will be sending our digital navigators to every possible community event where eligible low-income families might be in attendance across Jersey City. The navigators will promote the ACP internet subsidy and provide application assistance. Please invite us using the following ACP Digital Navigator Request Form to deploy a digital navigator to any and all events you host in Jersey City -- large or small, regularly occurring or one-offs!
What is ACP or Affordable Connectivity Program
The Affordable Connectivity Program is a federal benefit program that helps ensure that households can afford the broadband they need for work, school, healthcare and care. The benefit provides a discount of $30/month toward their home internet bill. In addition, the benefit provides a one-time $100 discount toward a connected device like a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from participating providers if they contribute more than $10 and less than $50 toward the purchase price.
Who is eligible?
A household is eligible for the ACP if one member of the household meets at least one of the criteria below:
Has an income that is at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines;
Participates in certain assistance programs, such as SNAP, Medicaid, Federal Public Housing Assistance, SSI, WIC, or Lifeline;
Is approved to receive benefits under the free and reduced-price school lunch program or the school breakfast program, including through the USDA Community Eligibility Provision (CEP);
Received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year;
Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating broadband provider’s existing low-income program; or
Participates in one of several Tribal specific programs, such as Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance, Tribal Head Start (only households meeting the relevant income qualifying standard), Tribal TANF, or Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations.
To get started, households can visit https://www.fcc.gov/acp or, https://getacp.org/esh, EducationSuperHighway’s pre-enrollment tool to see if they qualify, what documents they will need at the time of application, and to see a list of “free with ACP” home internet plans.
La página web en español del Programa de Descuentos Para Internet (ACP) se encuentra en AccedeaInternet.gov. La página web en inglés para el mismo programa (Affordable Connectivity Program, ACP, por sus siglas en inglés) está disponible en GetInternet.gov.
Contact Us :
Digital Inclusion Coordinator
Work Cell: (201) 920-7225
Additional Resources :
ACP Consumer Outreach Toolkit - https://www.fcc.gov/acp-consumer-outreach-toolkit
Education SuperHighways - https://www.educationsuperhighway.org/
EveryoneOn - https://www.everyoneon.org/
ACP-eligible internet service providers near me https://cnm.universalservice.org/
City of Jersey City Press Release - Mayor & Housing Launch Initiative to Close Digital Divide - City of Jersey City (jerseycitynj.gov)
For more information on JCHA’s Digital Inclusion Projects, upcoming digital literacy training and other available resources, click here.