Analysis found that children in 31% of Black and Latino families did not have high-speed Internet access at home. (Foto: Ilustrativa/Pexels)

High-speed internet serves as a necessity in daily life – granting access to critical services for employment, education, health and more. Yet millions of Americans still struggle to get online, largely due to the inability to afford the cost of an internet subscription.

One recent study found that the broadband affordability gap is concentrated in specific neighborhoods where 25% or more of the households lack home broadband. These communities, referred to as “America’s most unconnected communities,” hold 57% more Black households, and 49% more Latino households than the national average. The City of Philadelphia’s 2022 Digital Equity Plan

highlighted this lack of connectivity or” digital divide” right here – 82% of Black and 77% of Hispanic households have a broadband subscription compared to 88% of White households. Among Spanish-Speaking Hispanic households, only 67% have a broadband subscription.

The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), created under the Biden administration, has been a vital step towards closing the affordability gap at the root cause of this divide, delivering connectivity to over 150,000 households here in Philadelphia alone.

This program has been an invaluable resource for so many families, yet – and there are still over 130,000 other Philadelphia households that are eligible for the program but have yet to enroll. Unfortunately, experts estimate the program will run out of funding by the second quarter of 2024, if not sooner, leaving all of these households behind.

The ACP has been a key tool to combat the racial divide in internet access, and its expiration would disproportionately harm people of color

Studies have shown the disparity in educational outcomes between students with access to home broadband and digital devices and those without, and this disproportionately affects students of color.

Analysis found that children in 31% of Black and Latino families did not have high-speed Internet access at home. With the shift in recent years towards digital learning, connectivity at home has become a prerequisite for a quality education. By preserving the ACP, the Biden Administration and Congress can ensure that students have the resources to succeed academically, thus narrowing the educational gap and fostering greater equity in the classroom.

The ACP also fosters greater economic mobility and job opportunities by empowering individuals in underserved communities to gain the necessary skills, access job listings, and pursue remote work. This not only increases economic opportunities for individuals but also stimulates local economies and reduces income inequality.

The Affordable Connectivity Program is an essential lifeline for tens of millions of Americans who would otherwise be left on the wrong side of the digital divide. Preserving the ACP is not just about ensuring internet access; it is about addressing the systemic inequities that have long disadvantaged Black and Latino communities.

Less than two years after its initial launch, the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) has been perhaps the most impactful tool in accelerating digital equity. Throughout my career as a community leader, activist, and government professional, I have been dedicated to breaking down barriers and producing more equitable outcomes. I know how difficult it can be for government programs to quickly produce real and meaningful change. Looking at the success of the ACP in recruiting so many households in such a short time, it seems crazy to stop now. I also know how difficult it is to find areas of common ground – but the ACP has broad bipartisan support. I urge the Biden Administration to lead on this issue once again like they have in the past, and work with Congress to find a commonsense solution that extends the program’s funding.

*Mr. Rodriguez is the Board President of Germantown Community Radio and a seasoned community organizer who led several organizations in the Philadelphia area.

Artículo anteriorConcierto de la Hispanidad 2023
Artículo siguienteGarantizar la equidad y el acceso a las vacunas
Pedro Rodriguez
Originario de Republica Dominicana, Pedro es un veterano activista comunitario y organizador con muchos años de experiencia en la política local de Filadelfia. Exdirector de la Oficina de Recursos Humanos de la Ciudad de Filadelfia y exdirector de la Oficina de Philly Counts 2020 en la división de Colaboraciones. Fungió como director ejecutivo de Action Alliance of Senior Citizens y vicepresidente de la Alliance for Retired Americans. Pedro es graduado en economía de la State University of New York at Oneonta y ha sido profesor de Literatura Latinoamericana e Idiomas. Fue director Asociado de Enfoque Comunal/Community Focus; periódico comunitario pionero en medios en español en Filadelfia. Hoy en día se mantiene activo con varias organizaciones locales y es consejero y consultor de negocios.


Por favor ingrese su comentario!
Por favor ingrese su nombre aquí