Day of Action - Broadband Action Track: Details and Updates

Problem

Since the Emergency Broadband Benefit and subsequently the Affordable Connectivity Program’s launch in April 2021, 40% of eligible households have adopted the benefit. The benefit has reached 13 out of 30 million eligible households—leaving a gap of 17 million households without affordable internet service. That leaves nearly $4 billion on the table, yet to be distributed to individuals and families. Low adoption rates have been due to:

Low adoption rates have been due to:

  1. Lack of awareness – People don’t know about the new broadband benefits.
  2. Lack of trust in the service – There have been instances of upcharging from broadband providers that breaches trust among communities.
  3. Burdensome or unfamiliar processes – Clients must both apply for the EBB program and contact a participating provider to select a service plan.
  4. Clunky backend data collection – The eligibility system uses locally-held data to check an applicant’s information; this is time consuming, difficult, and often ends in manual review.

Relevance to Network + Code for America

Code for America delivers digital public services to our clients. We create mobile-first products because we know that clients are often using their phones to access the internet through public wifi because they do not have internet at home. By giving more people access to Lifeline, the Emergency Broadband Benefit and Affordable Connectivity Benefit, Code for America would be enabling more people to get home internet access, therefore enabling more clients to use CfA-delivered services in the comfort of their own home.

The Network Team is pursuing actions and partnerships related to the Affordable Connectivity Program, digital equity and broadband access for a number of reasons:

  • Digital equity and access is a foundational layer upon which all civic tech rests. Families must be able to access digital tools in order to benefit from them.
  • We know Brigades have been exploring digital equity and broadband access through different projects for years; to gauge interest in the activities, the Network Team reached out to several Brigades earlier in the year and received positive feedback.
  • At Code for America, we are dedicated to reimagining and rebuilding delivery of equitable and accessible benefits. When the Affordable Connectivity Program launched, it provided a clear opportunity to deliver a tangible benefit to households across the country.

For background information on this year’s Day of Action, see this previous post from Ben Treviño.

Schedule & Logistics

Date: Saturday, October 15, 2022 (during Brigade Congress)
Time:

  • 2:00-3:00 PM (CT) Digital Equity & Inclusion Panel
  • 3:00-5:30 PM (CT) Collective Action (Quantitative & Qualitative Research Tracks)
  • 5:30-6:00 PM (CT) Report impact, next steps, and session closing

Format & Delivery:

  • We will kick off with guest speakers focused on discussing digital equity. The panel will be in person and streamed virtually.
  • There will also be two activity tracks on expanding broadband access to those who need it most. The Quantitative Research Track offers an opportunity to participate virtually while the Qualitative Research Track will be done in person.
  • The virtual Quantitative Research Track will be hosted on a Gather Town “landscape” with “tables” for the 50 states and U.S. Territories for teams to gather.

Who Can Participate?
All Network volunteers, community partners, and community members are invited to join us for any of the activities described below!

:orange_square: Quantitative Research Track – Data Mapping

We will host a data analysis activity that would attempt to address the FCC map challenge obstacles by inviting volunteers to gather high-quality evidence that their communities can use to challenge the upcoming FCC maps and ensure that no community is denied the opportunity to benefit from upgraded infrastructure. This activity would also contribute to the construction of a rich database of information about broadband availability and pricing for communities across the United States, allowing for analysis that could inform efforts to uncover instances of price discrimination, digital redlining, and other practices of concern.

Have questions about the Quantitative Research Track? Contact Sung Kim at skim@codeforamerica.org.

:yellow_square: Qualitative Research Track – On-Site ACP Enrollment

Brigades and community organizers are invited to host on-site ACP Enrollment events in their communities in collaboration with local partners. As participants, you’d actively engage with community members and partner with a community-based organization. We’ll be available to help you find and reach out to a local organization to potentially co-host the event with you. We are currently developing the qualitative research component of this track and will release a toolkit soon!

Have questions about the Qualitative Research Track? Contact Mellina Stoney at mstoney@codeforamerica.org.

How to Get Involved

  1. Sign up to participate in one of the action tracks.
  2. Share this Discourse post with fellow Brigade volunteers to let them know about Day of Action.
  3. Review our ACP Resource Library to learn more about the Affordable Connectivity Program and get access to resources like an event planning guide and a partner outreach template.
  4. Contact one of the research track leads if you have questions or need support with planning.

Quantitative Research Track – Data Mapping
Sung Kim → skim@codeforamerica.org

Qualitative Research Track – On-Site ACP Enrollment
Mellina Stoney → mstoney@codeforamerica.org

Brigades are also welcome to host their own events to participate in an action track OR host/watch Brigade Congress sessions. As a reminder, Network volunteers, community partners, and community members are welcome to sign up for a Day of Action activity.

We hope you’ll join us for collective action around broadband access! :globe_with_meridians:

If you want to attend the full Brigade Congress event and check out other virtual sessions, register here!