Metro Digital Inclusion and Partners Launch a Countywide Initiative to Help Residents Pay for Home Internet Service and Computers
Nashville, TENN. – The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) is a bipartisan Federal Communications Commission (FCC) program. ACP gives a $30/month home internet discount to individuals or households that qualify. For many, this means free home internet.
“But many people who qualify for ACP don’t know it exists,” says Pearl Amanfu, Metro’s Digital Inclusion Officer. “More than 150,000 households are eligible in Nashville alone. Only about 33,000 have signed up. Awareness of the program is the biggest issue.”
Metro Digital Inclusion, Nashville Public Library, hubNashville, Black Churches for Digital Equity (BC4DE), and CivicTN have organized a series of outreach activities, including live sign-up events, to get the word out.
“This is not just about technology,” says Keith Durbin, Metro’s Chief Information Officer and Director of Information Technology Services. “Affordable internet equals expanded opportunities, and our goal is for everyone to have the same access regardless of zip code or income level.”
The first in-person sign-up event, sponsored by BC4DE, is September 9th from 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM at Greater Bethel African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church. The registration event will feature free food, music, and children’s activities as part of Greater Bethel’s Community Day.
State and local officials will be on hand for the festivities. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information Alan Davidson will join remotely from D.C. to speak to community members.
“We are excited to be part of this effort,” says Reverend Garland Pierce, an Executive Director of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. “Faith centers, like libraries and places of learning, are anchor institutions in the community. We want our congregants to thrive in every part of life. These days, internet access and use aren’t options; they are necessities.”
Nashville Public Library staff will be onsite to support live registration. Guests can also schedule appointments in person or online with the library for a future date. Local volunteers will be onsite to provide Spanish language support. Blacks in Technology – Nashville Chapter, a longtime partner to both Metro and BC4DE, is providing additional volunteer support for the event.
In addition to registering people for affordable connectivity, Metro is taking action to provide support beyond broadband. On August 31st, Metro Digital Inclusion launched the Digital Inclusion Asset Map. This interactive map is a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) coded list of organizations, or assets, in the community whose services residents can leverage for help with digital skills training, tech support, and more.
Matia Powell, Executive Director of CivicTN, says this ongoing support is necessary. “Digital opportunity is layered. Broadband internet is critical, but it isn’t the only puzzle piece. We aim to fully empower residents to apply technology for better employment, education, and, importantly, civic engagement.”
As part of the countywide initiative, hubNashville, Metro’s 311 information resource, has launched a new service offering: Metro Nashville and Davidson County residents can call 311 to get help with ACP or visit hub.nashville.gov and use the “Affordable Internet” request.
Erin Williams, hubNashville Director, says this is a natural fit for hubNashville. “Our dedicated team is always looking to find more ways for people who live here to access Metro services and information. Our goal is to support programs that improve the lives of Metro Nashville and Davidson County residents, and ACP does just that.”