AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin Pathways, a subsidiary of the Housing Authority in Austin, received a $250,980 grant from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to promote affordable broadband internet access to eligible low-income households.
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 registration assistance from the ACP to participants in Housing Choice Voucher and Project-Based Rental Assistance programs.
As part of the ACP program, participants receive a discount of up to $30 monthly for broadband service and $100 off the purchase of a computer or tablet from participating providers. Only one monthly service discount and one device discount is allowed per household.
“This is an exciting opportunity for voucher and supportive housing program participants,” the president and CEO of HACA, Michael Gerber, said. “Affordable high-speed internet is key to accessing education, health care, job training, and maintaining relationships with friends and loved ones.”
He added too many individuals lack broadband access due to high costs, a lack of technical know-how or are simply unaware that programs like the ACP exist.
Austin Pathways is a nonprofit subsidiary of HACA, dedicated to promoting education and the 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 every eligible HACA household.
The FCC estimates nearly 104,000 households in Austin are eligible for discounted internet, though only 18% are currently enrolled.
“This grant award is a testament to the work of Austin Pathways and the Digital Inclusion Program staff who work day in and day out to increase digital literacy and access for our community,” Gerber said.