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Fewer than a third of eligible households have signed up for the Affordable Connectivity Program in Hawaii, says broadband strategy officer Thumbnail Image

Fewer than a third of eligible households have signed up for the Affordable Connectivity Program in Hawaii, says broadband strategy officer

Fewer than a third of the households in Hawaii are signed up for the Federal Communications Commission's Affordable Connectivity Program, according to Burt Lum, the state's chief broadband strategy officer. 

About  29,000 households have signed up for the program, which provides a monthly $30 subsidy to qualifying households for internet access. The award doubles for families on Hawaiian home lands. They can receive a $75 discount each month.

“I was looking at how many families receive free or reduced lunch or SNAP benefits, and that’s close to a hundred thousand,” Lum told the Honolulu Star Advertiser in a recent article

Those are the households that are eligible to receive the benefit. Residents can also qualify if they benefit from Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Supplemental Security Income, federal public housing assistance, free and reduced-price school breakfast or lunch, the Pell Grant or if their household income is less than 200% of the federal poverty line. The program also grants a one-time $100 discount for purchasing a laptop, desktop or tablet.

To see the full list of ACP eligibility details and participating Hawaii internet service providers, visit http://broadband.hawaii.gov/acp/.

One of the big, yet little-discussed, issues hindering broader enrollment is the extensive administrative burden that internet service providers and their customers face when trying to enroll in the program. The process involves several steps that require households to navigate procedures both through the federal government and then at the provider itself. Then billing agents at providers have a whole other procedure to implement in order to register ACP participants. 

Broadband.money is working on a Turnkey ACP option that would enable internet service providers to seamlessly offer ACP subsidies to eligible subscribers. 
The goal is to reduce the administrative burden both on subscribers and provider staff when integrating the ACP benefit into subscription plans.   

The FCC recently launched a grant program that would help local officials boost their ACP outreach programs. 

Households looking to sign up for the discounts can go to Get the Internet. 

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