By Pacific Island Times News Staff
The Federal Communications Commission has awarded Guam $383,586 in fresh grants under the Affordable Connectivity Program that seeks to make technology affordable to low-income households.
The ACP benefit offers a monthly discount of up to $30 for internet service among qualifying households. Eligible households can also avail of a one-time discount of up to $100 for purchasing a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from participating providers, provided they contribute between $10 and $50 towards the purchase price.
Each household is entitled to a single monthly service discount and one device discount.
"As we establish the foundation to close the technology gap and ensure our citizens and government keep pace with the swiftly evolving landscape of telecommunications and broadband, I am thrilled that Guam has been designated these funds to enhance community awareness," Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero said following the FCC's announcement of the award on Aug, 18.
This will prompt eligible households to apply for the benefits provided," she added.
Lt. Gov. Joshua Tenorio said the resources will be directed toward expanding the ACP program's reach to eligible households that have yet to enroll.
Households become eligible for the ACP if they are part of Federal Housing Assistance programs, such as the Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8 Vouchers), Project-Based Rental Assistance encompassing Project-Based Section 8, Section 202, and Section 811 housing, as well as Public Housing.
Eligibility also extends to households participating in Medicaid, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Veterans Pension and Survivors Benefit, or meeting income criteria at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty guidelines.
Additionally, households where a member has received a federal Pell Grant during the current award year, is approved for the National School Lunch or Breakfast programs, participates in the Special Supplemental Nutritional Program for Women, Infants, and Children, or fulfills the criteria for a participating provider's existing low-income internet program are also eligible.
The FCC's authorization of additional funding, up to $10 million for Round 2 on March 13, paved the way for Guam's award. The allocated funding comprises a blend of unspent resources from the ACP Outreach Grant Program and unobligated funds from the $100 million ACP outreach budget that had not been allocated to specific outreach endeavors.
The ACP Outreach Grant Program forms an integral component of the diverse range of measures mandated by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021.
The FCC has implemented these measures to tackle the digital divide. The Outreach Grant Program operates under the umbrella of the $14.2 billion ACP FCC benefit initiative, designed to assist states and territories in furnishing affordable internet service to eligible low-income households, addressing their needs for work, education, healthcare, and more.