‘Great opportunity’: Program expected to help city’s digital gap

San Antonio officials are promoting a federally funded program to combat the city’s long-lasting digital divide made more obvious by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), is a government program open to eligible households to secure connectivity.

The program provides a $30 a month discount toward broadband services. In its promotion of the program, the city notes “several” San Antonio internet service providers offer $30 monthly plans, so residents approved for the program would not have to pay out of pocket. ACP also offers a one-time discount of up to $100 to buy a laptop, desktop, or tablet from a participating provider.

The digital divide has been an issue since the inception of the internet, but the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the disparities as families worked and learned from home. In a call-out for survey input, the social media accounts for Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar’s office says 17% of Texas students lack internet access and 30% do not have an adequate learning device at home.

The Intercultural Development Research Association (IDRA) previously told MySA that areas of San Antonio that were historically marginalized through racist policies like redlining have continued to lack in quality internet access. According to the most-recent Census data, Bexar County has the lowest percentage of homes with broadband internet subscriptions at 84.2% among major Texas counties.

San Antonio City Manager Erik Walsh addressed the disparities in promoting the federal program.

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