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'Summer slide’ occurs when students lose some of the knowledge they gained during the school year. Courtesy photo
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Eligible households not signed up for ACP

Whether they’re a family with school age children, a college student, or an older adult on a fixed income, households of all ages are encouraged to apply for the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) if their annual income is 200% or less of the federal government’s poverty guideline. That’s a household income of about $60,000 a year for a family of four, or about $29,000 a year for a household of one.

Two-thirds of eligible San Diego County households still haven’t applied for the ACP, a federal program that provides up to $30 a month (up to $75 for Tribal lands) for a qualifying household’s internet bill – leaving dollars on the table every month and even access to free internet service through providers like Cox Communications.

The ACP is helping to bridge the digital divide by making it easier for lower income individuals and families to connect to the internet and stay connected. In 2022, Cox announced it was partnering with the White House to raise awareness of the ACP and help eligible households sign up.

Households can qualify if they participate in a federal government or Tribal program such as: Medicaid, free or reduced lunch through the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), federal public housing (such as Section 8, Multi-family units, and Public Housing Authorities), Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), Pell Grant recipient for current academic year, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Veterans Pension & Survivors Benefits, and Tribal Programs (and proof of living on Tribal lands).

HOW IT WORKS

The ACP provides up to $30 a month ($75 for households on Tribal lands), that’s applied to a qualifying household’s monthly internet bill.

Eligible households can also receive a one-time $100 subsidy to purchase a laptop, computer or tablet (Cox is one of the providers participating in this option for its customers).

Free internet access: Customers who qualify for the ACP likely also qualify for other Cox affordable internet options such as ConnectAssist ($30 a month) or Connect2Compete ($9.95 a month for K-12 families). By applying their ACP credit to their ConnectAssist or Connect2Compete service, home internet for these households may be free or available at a significantly reduced cost.

THE IMPACT OF DIGITAL EQUITY

To better understand the impacts of bridging the digital divide, Cox conducted a digital equity survey in October 2022 with customers enrolled in the ACP and/or Connect2Compete.

Key findings included:

• About half of them have home internet for the first time

• 70% credit home internet for finding a new or better job

• Half said they got a promotion or a pay increase

  90% said they are now doing homework at home

• Half said they are now able to apply to college and apply for financial aid

• Half said they have gotten certified in a specific skill or trade

• One-third reported being a first-generation college graduate as a result of home internet.

Nine out of 10 ACP and Connect2Compete customers say Cox internet allows their children to access educational resources, do homework and participate in remote learning, and it better enables the adult(s) in the household to communicate with the child’s teacher.

“I was unable to afford internet service prior to this opportunity,” said a Cox customer using Connect2Compete internet service. “My daughter couldn’t to do her homework at home, and I was unable to take her to the public library.”

To learn more about the Affordable Connectivity Program and Cox’s ConnectAssist and Connect2Compete options, visit cox.com/digitalequity.