DBEDT Press Release: AFFORDABLE CONNECTIVITY PROGRAM TO PROVIDE LONG-TERM BROADBAND ACCESS TO HAWA RESIDENTS
Posted on December 17, 2021 in Latest department news, Press room
HONOLULU – As the COVID-19 pandemic plunges us deeper into a digital world, internet connectivity is more essential than ever to access essential services, including education and healthcare. The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), which was created in response to COVID-19, is designed to modify and extend the existing Emergency broadband service Program (EBB). The program will take effect on January 1, 2022 and will continue to offer discounts on Internet service to low-income families statewide. The CPA is funded by the $ 65 billion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act that was passed by Congress in November 2021.
Currently, more than 17,000 households in Hawai’i are enrolled in the EBB program, providing more than $ 3 million in benefits locally. It is estimated that more than 100,000 Hawaiian households could qualify for the CPA.
âThe transition to the Affordable Connectivity Program through the Infrastructure Bill of Congress establishes a more permanent program to reduce the cost of Internet services for our local ‘ohana who otherwise might not have the means to afford it, âsaid Burt Lum, broadband strategy manager for the Hawai’i Broadband & Digital Equity office. “This new, longer-term program brings us another step towards achieving digital equity in Hawai’i and, more importantly, has the potential to help thousands of kama’aina residents access the digital world. . “
While the focus of this program remains the same, several key changes have been made to the Affordable Connectivity program:
- Currently, the EBB program offers a $ 50 rebate on Internet service bills per month. The CPA is offering up to $ 30 per month on Internet service bills with the maintenance of a $ 75 rebate for households on Hawaii land. Households who enrolled in the EBB program before December 31, 2021 will continue to receive their monthly rebate until it decreases to $ 30 per month effective March 1, 2022.
- In the new ACP, households with incomes up to 200% of the federal poverty line will be eligible, compared to the EBB program which allowed qualified households with incomes of 135% or less of the federal poverty line.
- Device credit under the current EBB program will remain the same. Qualifying households can receive a one-time rebate of up to $ 100 towards the purchase of a laptop, desktop or tablet from participating Hawaiian Internet service providers, provided that they contribute a minimum of $ 10 to the purchase price.
Hawaiian households are eligible to apply for the CPA if any member of the household meets any of the following criteria:
- Receives benefits from one of the following federal assistance programs: Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Supplemental Security Income, Federal Public Housing Assistance, or Veterans and Survivors Retirement Allowance;
- Qualifies to participate in the Lifeline program (with the modification that the qualifying household income threshold is equal to or less than 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines for a household of this size);
- Has been approved to receive school lunch benefits under the Free and Discounted Lunch Program or the School Lunch Program;
- Received a Federal Pell Grant in the current award year;
- Meets the eligibility criteria for an existing low-income program of a participating provider; Where
- Receives assistance through the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC).
For a full list of eligibility details and participating Internet service providers in Hawaii, visit www.fcc.gov/emergency-broadband-benefit-providers#Hawaii.
For more information about the program or to register, visit www.fcc.gov/broadbandbenefit.
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About the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT)
DBEDT is Hawaii’s resource center for economic and statistical data, business development opportunities, energy and conservation information, and the benefits of foreign trade. DBEDT’s mission is to achieve a Hawaiian economy that embraces innovation and that is globally competitive, vibrant and productive, providing opportunities for all Hawaiian citizens. Through its attached agencies, the ministry promotes planned community development, creates affordable housing for the workforce in high-quality living environments and promotes employment growth in the construction sector. innovation.
Broadband Strategy Officer
Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism