My name is Paul Isherwood - I am the Athens County Broadband Coordinator, working with Hocking Athens Perry Community Action. Some of you I have had the pleasure of meeting over the course of the past year.
I am reaching out to you all today to provide information on the FCC's Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). You may have already provided the families in your district with information regarding this program, however, I would encourage a reminder to be communicated throughout the county. This program replaces the pandemic linked Emergency Broadband Benefit. According to FCC data approximately 15-25% of eligible households in our region took advantage of that benefit. I would very much like to see a much greater share of our community take advantage of this opportunity.
So, what does it do? The ACP provides eligible households with a direct subsidy of $30 a month towards a broadband internet plan. This can be on a home internet connection or on a mobile device. All providers in Athens County are now participating in this program. The eligibility requirements for this new program have been streamlined and can be found in the attached flyer.
I understand that many of the eligible households in our area will not be able to sign up for this program as service does not exist at their home or they do not have access to a device with which to connect to the internet. These are problems that we are working on and I welcome your help and input as we do so. On the second Friday of every month at 9am I convene a meeting of the Athens County Broadband Advisory Committee. The meeting is conducted via zoom. In these meetings we discuss developments in closing the digital divide in the county and beyond. If any of you would be interested in attending these meetings - (apologies for scheduling them during the school day!) - your voice and views would be most welcome.
If you, your staff, students or their families, have questions about the Affordable Connectivity Program, please feel free to reach out to me.