What’s the news? AT&T* and the Public Library Association (PLA) have launched a free self-paced online course to educate parents, caregivers and families about the federal broadband benefits available to qualifying households for discounted internet service from participating providers.
To help bridge the digital divide, AT&T and PLA collaborated to develop the easily accessible and relatable course that provides an in-depth overview of the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), documents needed to apply, the process of applying, and how to use the benefit, if eligible.
Why is this important?
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) found that one reason why one-fifth of U.S. households are not online is because of concerns about cost and affordability. Yet only 17 million households, representing an estimated 35% of eligible of households, have signed up for ACP to receive up to $30/mo. off their internet or wireless service, or up to $75/mo. if living on qualifying Tribal lands.
According to research done by the Benton Institute, households located in communities with a public library enroll in ACP at a higher rate than communities that do not. That’s why AT&T and PLA are also working together to bring in-person ACP workshops to public libraries. With support from AT&T, public libraries across the country now have access to workshop materials through DigitalLearn, as well as incentives for libraries to host ACP and other digital literacy workshops.
How we will make it happen
The online course is available now through AT&T ScreenReady and PLA’s DigitalLearn in English and Spanish. With support from AT&T, PLA has selected more than 200 public libraries across 45 states to host in-person digital literacy and ACP workshops.
The ACP course is the newest in a curated series of digital literacy courses offered by AT&T and PLA to help bring technology confidence and digital literacy skills to families and library patrons across the country.
The initiative is part of the AT&T Connected Learning initiative and our 3-year $2 billion commitment made in 2021 to address the digital divide through investments in internet accessibility, affordability and the safe adoption of technology.
What are people saying?
“We recognize it takes intentional collaboration to remove barriers to help people get connected,” said Mylayna Albright, assistant vice president of corporate social responsibility, AT&T. “That is why we are proud to work with the Public Library Association to meet people where they are and provide access to relatable, easy-to-follow resources which help them get the connectivity they need.”
“My top priority is to help PLA to center equity, diversity, inclusion, and social justice. A large part of our equity work revolves around digital equity—equitable access to information, devices, and reliable high-speed internet so that everyone can fully participate in today’s society,” said Dr. Maria McCauley, PLA president and director of libraries, Cambridge Public Library. “Communities have long relied on their local public library as a trusted source for getting them connected online. With the support from AT&T, the new PLA DigitalLearn course and workshop materials will not only help patrons get the information and support they need while at the library, but also get them enrolled in the ACP so they can afford to get connected at home.”
Learn more at AT&T Connected Learning.
*About Philanthropy & Social Innovation at AT&T
We’re committed to advancing education, creating opportunities, strengthening communities and improving lives. As part of our companywide $2 billion commitment from 2021 to 2023 to address the digital divide, we launched AT&T Connected Learning to invest in connectivity and technology, digital literacy and education solutions to help today’s learners succeed inside and outside of the classroom. Since 2008, we’ve committed to programs that help millions of students across all 50 states and around the world, particularly those in underserved communities.
About The Public Library Association
The Public Library Association (PLA) is the largest association dedicated to supporting the unique and evolving needs of public library professionals. Founded in 1944, PLA serves nearly 9,000 members in public libraries large and small in communities across the United States and Canada, with a growing presence around the world. PLA strives to help its members shape the essential institution of public libraries by serving as an indispensable ally for public library leaders. For more information about PLA, contact the PLA office at 1 (800) 545-2433, ext. 5PLA, or firstname.lastname@example.org.