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FCC Joins Forces With HUD on Affordable Internet Access

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) have formalized a partnership to promote awareness of the FCC's Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) among federal housing assistance recipients.

HUD Secretary Marcia L. Fudge announced the partnership while engaging with community members and touring a newly built computer lab at Yesler Terrace in Seattle, Washington. The partnership agreement will decrease the time it takes for some people to sign up for the program and is coupled by HUD’s commitment to increase outreach activities. The partnership furthers work the FCC is doing to coordinate with other federal agencies to ensure that low-income households participating in eligible federal assistance programs are provided information about the ACP, including how to enroll in the program. Starting this week, the FCC and HUD will partner on ACP outreach targeted toward recipients of public housing assistance.

“I am pleased to partner with the Federal Communications Commission to close the digital divide and to spread the word about the Affordable Connectivity Program. All recipients of HUD assistance are eligible to receive free or reduced cost internet through the Affordable Connectivity Program. I personally encourage you to sign up,” said HUD Secretary Fudge. “We are deeply committed to ensuring families and their children have the necessary resources to thrive, and this partnership makes it clear that eligible HUD households can get the financial help they need to equitably access broadband resources.”

Under the Secretary’s leadership, HUD has taken action to increase the enrollment of HUD residents in the Affordable Connectivity Program. HUD clarified that receiving benefits through the ACP will not impact the amount of rent that HUD-assisted tenants pay.

HUD is streamlining the process of enrolling in the ACP through data sharing agreements that enable voucher holders and public housing residents to enroll with reduced paperwork, and soon will enable Multifamily residents to do the same. HUD’s field offices have been holding regional enrollment events across the country and will soon be doing so with FCC sign up stations.

Since its inception, FCC staff has engaged in extensive outreach to help raise awareness of the ACP among households participating in qualifying governmental assistance programs, including the creation of the Your Home, Your Internet pilot outreach program. FCC coordination with HUD is a valuable component of ACP outreach efforts because HUD oversees qualifying federal housing assistance programs.

“This agreement builds on our ongoing and tireless efforts to broaden awareness of an essential cost-saving program that can bring connectivity to families on the wrong side of the digital divide,” said FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel. “I appreciate Secretary Fudge and our government partners for joining with us in getting the word out to consumers receiving federal housing assistance so they can learn about the ACP, and if they are eligible, to sign up and get connected.”

With the partnership in place, the FCC and HUD will work together to increase awareness of the ACP among HUD-assisted households through:

  • Outreach and enrollment events at public housing, in properties participating in HUD’s multifamily project-based rental assistance programs, and with key partners;
  • Regular coordination meetings to review work on ACP outreach intended to target HUD-assisted households including through a series joint in person enrollment events around the country;
  • Collaboration on ACP outreach and education efforts, including development of messaging and targeting intended audiences.
  • More than 20 million households have enrolled in the Affordable Connectivity Program. The program provides a monthly discount of up to $30 per month toward internet service for eligible households and up to $75 per month for households on qualifying Tribal lands. Eligible households participating in the ACP can also receive a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from participating providers if they contribute more than $10 and less than $50 toward the purchase price.

“As we’ve seen with the Your Home, Your Internet program, there is a particular nexus between housing and connectivity: if we can help a family secure housing, we should be able to help them secure an internet connection as well,” said FCC Commissioner Geoffrey Starks. “With better coordination between HUD and the FCC, we will get closer to ensuring that the millions of eligible households receiving federal housing assistance have the opportunity to enroll in ACP and get connected.”

About Author: Eric C. Peck

Eric C. Peck has 20-plus years’ experience covering the mortgage industry, he most recently served as Editor-in-Chief for The Mortgage Press and National Mortgage Professional Magazine. Peck graduated from the New York Institute of Technology where he received his B.A. in Communication Arts/Media. After graduating, he began his professional career with Videography Magazine before landing in the mortgage space. Peck has edited three published books and has served as Copy Editor for Entrepreneur.com.

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