Common Sense Media Launches Campaign in Arizona to Help Families Apply for Free Internet
Bilingual advertising and outreach initiative will encourage eligible households to apply for the new Affordable Connectivity Program in an effort to close the digital divide and cut rising costs
PHOENIX, Aug. 15, 2022—Common Sense Media, the nation's leading organization dedicated to helping children and families thrive in the world of media and technology, announced today a new campaign in Arizona to create awareness of the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), a first-of-its-kind, long-term benefit for lower-income families to afford high-speed internet. The federal discount provides households with up to $30 per month (or $75 per month on tribal lands) toward internet service, plus a one-time discount of up to $100 for a computer or tablet.
As families continue to struggle with rising costs, the ACP helps households save hundreds of dollars a year on fast, reliable internet service. Eligible households include families with incomes at or below 200% of the federal poverty level, and those who qualify for Lifeline, SNAP, Free and Reduced-Price School Lunch, WIC, and other government-funded programs. The rapid shift to remote work and virtual classrooms at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic shined a bright light on what families already knew: Access to the internet is essential for work, learning, and health care—and yet it continues to be out of reach for hundreds of thousands of Arizonans and tens of millions of Americans.
"In today's world, we all need access to fast and reliable internet," said Ilana Lowery, Arizona director for Common Sense. "Too many people are still experiencing the frustration that comes with using a slow internet connection or depending on a cellphone to perform essential online activities such as doing homework, applying for a job, learning a new skill, or participating in a telehealth call. The ACP makes fast and reliable internet connectivity at home more affordable so that all families can have access to what is now a basic life necessity."
Common Sense is first launching its public awareness campaign in Arizona, where only 25% of the 1,075,000 eligible households are currently receiving the monthly benefit, and will then expand the campaign to other communities. The 12-week bilingual paid advertising campaign will include public service announcements across local television and radio stations, digital and outdoor ads, grassroots outreach, and a call center to support enrollment. Consumers will be directed to call a toll-free number or visit getmyinternet.org, where information and eligibility requirements about the ACP are available in both English and Spanish. Common Sense, through a partnership with the Digital Equity Institute, is turning Arizona State University's internal tech-support hotline into an enrollment support service for the wider Phoenix community to help families navigate the application process and get them connected to the internet.
"The ACP plays a vital part in closing the digital divide. We know that affordability remains one of the greatest obstacles to equal opportunity and full participation in society," said Erin Carr-Jordan, managing director of the Digital Equity Institute. "By partnering with Common Sense and the digital navigators from ASU's Experience Center, we leverage our collective strengths to drive awareness of and enrollment in ACP so residents in the city of Phoenix get the connectivity they need."
The ACP was created by Congress and the Biden administration last year as part of the historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, otherwise known as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, a $1.5 trillion, 10-year investment in infrastructure across the country, including $65 billion to help ensure that every family and business in America is connected to high-speed internet. The law represents the single-largest investment ever toward broadband accessibility and is a huge step toward one of Common Sense's top priorities: closing the digital divide for good.
Common Sense research has shown that the digital divide affects every state in the country, mostly impacting underserved households that lack service in urban, suburban, rural, and tribal communities. In Arizona, 335,558 students (29%) and 4,757 teachers (10%) lack adequate internet access. Bridging the divide through historic investments like the ACP remains essential to reduce inequality, improve educational opportunity, and accelerate economic growth.
For more information about the ACP, visit getmyinternet.org.
About Common Sense Arizona
Common Sense is the nation's leading nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of kids and families by providing the trustworthy information, education, and independent voice they need to thrive in the 21st century. The Arizona office supports Common Sense's Digital Citizenship Curriculum in schools throughout the state, as well as digital literacy resources focused on media and technology for parents and educators. Additionally, the Common Sense Arizona team advocates for the well-being of children at the state and federal levels. Learn more at commonsensemedia.org.
Jason Maymon, Vice President of Communications
Phone: (347) 931-1633
Lorena Taboas, Media Relations Manager
Phone: (786) 521-4215