AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin Pathways, a branch of the Austin Housing Authority, received a $250,980 grant from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to promote affordable broadband Internet access to eligible low-income families.
The Austin Pathways grant was one of 32 awards, totaling more than $4.9 million nationwide, for the “Your Home, Your Internet” pilot program to promote awareness, eligibility, and assistance with registration by the ACP for participants in Housing Choice Voucher and Project-Based Rental Assistance Programs.
As part of the ACP program, participants receive up to $30 a month off broadband service and $100 off the purchase of a computer or tablet from participating providers. Only one monthly service discount and one device discount per household is allowed.
“This is an exciting opportunity for participants in the voucher and supportive housing programs,” said HACA President and CEO Michael Gerber. “Affordable high-speed internet is the key to accessing education, healthcare, job training, and maintaining relationships with friends and loved ones.”
He added that too many people don’t have access to broadband due to high costs, lack of technical know-how, or are simply not aware that programs like ACP exist.
Austin Pathways is a non-profit subsidiary of HACA, dedicated to promoting the education and general welfare of low-income Austinites in subsidized housing programs. With this grant, the Digital Inclusion Program will expand its outreach efforts to bring high-speed, affordable Internet to all eligible HACA households.
The FCC estimates that nearly 104,000 households in Austin are eligible for discounted Internet, although only 18% are currently enrolled.
“This grant award is a testament to the work of Austin Pathways and Digital Inclusion Program staff who work day after day to increase digital literacy and access for our community,” Gerber said.