LANSING — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan High Speed Internet Office on Thursday announced the kickoff of the Michigan ACP Act Now initiative to increase awareness of a federal plan to help lower-income families pay for high-speed internet.
The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) is a $14.2 billion federal broadband benefit funded by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The ACP provides eligible households with a monthly discount of up to $30 per month (up to $75 per month for households on tribal) and a one-time $100 discount toward a laptop, desktop computer or tablet.
Nearly 1.7 million Michigan households are eligible for the ACP, yet only 644,000 have enrolled, Whitmer said.
“With affordable high-speed internet available to all Michiganders, we can grow our economy, create jobs and improve healthcare and education outcomes,” said Whitmer. “These critical investments will connect homes and small businesses across Michigan, and we are committed to achieving our ambitious goal to connect every Michigan community.”
The Michigan ACP Act Now initiative will unite a broad coalition of partner cities, community-based organizations and trusted institutions in partnership with EducationSuperHighway, the national nonprofit with a mission to close the broadband affordability gap, Whitmer said. Organizations are encouraged to sign up to help spread awareness to Michigan residents.
“MIHI is excited to spearhead the Michigan ACP Act Now initiative to lessen the burden eligible Michiganders face when trying to afford high-speed internet for themselves and their families, said Eric Frederick, chief connectivity officer of the Michigan High-Speed Internet Office. “We are committed to bringing affordable high-speed internet to all Michiganders, and we are grateful for EducationSuperHighway and other partnerships that increase affordable connectivity awareness and adoption.”
Through the ACP Act Now Initiative, EducationSuperHighway will support statewide awareness efforts by training community leaders and partner organizations and providing outreach materials and tools to help households enroll. The nonprofit recently launched GetACP.org/Michigan, 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.
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 state channels to directly promote the ACP to households in these programs and unite local governments, community-based organizations and trusted institutions to reach unconnected households.