The Archdiocese of Philadelphia announces a federal program increasing Internet access for low-income households.
Through its various Catholic Human Services (CHS) agencies, the Archdiocese encourages customers to enroll in the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), which offers discounts of up to $30 per month (or up to to $75 per month for those on eligible tribal lands). ) to broadband service.
Additionally, attendees can receive a one-time $100 discount to purchase a laptop, desktop, or tablet from participating vendors if they pay between $10 and $50 for the price.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) launched the $14.2 billion initiative in late 2021 as a permanent successor to the Emergency Broadband Benefit program created in response to the COVID pandemic.
According to federal data, some $2.5 million had been awarded under the program to residents of the five-county area as of August. The majority of ACP recipients reside in Philadelphia County.
Within the archdiocese, outreach efforts for the program are led by Auxiliary Bishop of Philadelphia John McIntyre, who serves on the U.S. Bishops Committee on Communications while also overseeing CHS.
CHS Secretary James Amato said the CPA is a “great asset” to the “tremendous number of low-income families with children” served by the archdiocese.
The COVID pandemic has laid bare a national “digital divide,” as poor households struggle to adapt to remote work and education with limited or no internet access.
At one CHS agency alone — Catholic Community Services — there are “some 500 children served, almost all from low-income families,” Amato said.
Seniors assisted by the Archdiocese’s Catholic housing and community services agency should also seek to register with the CPA, he added.
“They need an internet connection to access their social security documents and to stay on top of things,” Amato said.
For young and old alike, he added, the program has “great potential” to improve quality of life.