AT&T and Public Library Association Collaborate to Increase Awareness and Adoption of Federal Broadband Benefits
AT&T and the Public Library Association (PLA) have launched a free self-paced online course to educate parents, caregivers and families about the federal broadband benefits available to qualifying households for discounted internet service from participating providers.
To help bridge the digital divide, AT&T and PLA collaborated to develop the easily accessible and relatable course that provides an in-depth overview of the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), documents needed to apply, the process of applying, and how to use the federal broadband benefits, if eligible.
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) found that one reason why one-fifth of U.S. households are not online is because of concerns about cost and affordability. Yet only 17 million households, representing an estimated 35% of eligible of households, have signed up for ACP to receive up to $30/mo. off their internet or wireless service, or up to $75/mo. if living on qualifying Tribal lands.
According to research done by the Benton Institute, households located in communities with a public library enroll in ACP at a higher rate than communities that do not. That’s why AT&T and PLA are also working together to bring in-person ACP workshops to public libraries. With support from AT&T, public libraries across the country now have access to workshop materials through DigitalLearn, as well as incentives for libraries to host ACP and other digital literacy workshops.
The online course is available now through AT&T ScreenReady and PLA’s DigitalLearn in English and Spanish. With support from AT&T, 50 libraries will be selected by PLA to provide in-person ACP workshops in the community. Up to 215 libraries will also be selected to provide in-person digital literacy workshops teaching basic technology skills. Library patrons can check with local libraries to learn about upcoming workshops supported by AT&T, which will begin in August.
The ACP course is the newest in a curated series of digital literacy courses offered by AT&T and PLA to help bring technology confidence and digital literacy skills to families and library patrons across the country.
The initiative is part of the AT&T Connected Learning initiative and our 3-year $2 billion commitment made in 2021 to address the digital divide through investments in internet accessibility, affordability and the safe adoption of technology.
“We recognize it takes intentional collaboration to remove barriers to help people get connected,” said Mylayna Albright, assistant vice president of corporate social responsibility, AT&T. “That is why we are proud to work with the Public Library Association to meet people where they are and provide access to relatable, easy-to-follow resources which help them get the connectivity they need.”
“My top priority is to help PLA to center equity, diversity, inclusion, and social justice. A large part of our equity work revolves around digital equity—equitable access to information, devices, and reliable high-speed internet so that everyone can fully participate in today’s society,” said Dr. Maria McCauley, PLA president and director of libraries, Cambridge Public Library. “Communities have long relied on their local public library as a trusted source for getting them connected online. With the support from AT&T, the new PLA DigitalLearn course and workshop materials will not only help patrons get the information and support they need while at the library, but also get them enrolled in the ACP so they can afford to get connected at home.”