San Antonio nonprofit SA Digital Connects on Aug. 24 officially announced an Affordable Connectivity Program Toolkit and Enrollment Guide in collaboration with Family Service Association of San Antonio and the city of San Antonio’s innovation team for local community organizations that seek to help eligible households enroll in the ACP benefit.

According to a news release, the toolkit includes a downloadable enrollment guide, which breaks down the ACP application step by step, an outreach script, a webinar, and forms to help organizations work through the complexities and nuances of the signup process for their clients.

The release said the ACP provides eligible households a discount of up to $30 per month toward internet service and a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer or tablet from participating providers.

SA Digital Connects said access to the internet can be life-changing and positively affect a household’s quality of life by closing the digital gap and help residents to increase their internet mobility and participation in modern-day society.

“Affordability is a major barrier preventing households from accessing the internet, and our intent with the ACP toolkit was to make residents comfortable enrolling and for them to take advantage of the savings,” SADC Executive Director Marina Alderete Gavito said in a statement.

Gavito said her organization is now realizing a need for such a digital connection toolkit in places such as Chicago; Kansas City; and Long Beach, California.

“We aren’t stopping there; we’re also focusing on digital literacy so that residents feel smart, safe, and secure while online,” Gavito said.

Precinct 2 Commissioner Justin Rodriguez praised his colleagues for voting to invest $25 million in federal COVID-19 relief funds to help address the local digital divide, which he said keeps many socioeconomically disadvantaged residents from becoming a full contributing member in society.

“Connectivity for those who cannot currently access or afford broadband internet will provide new opportunities for health, economic, educational and social benefits that are currently out of reach,” Rodriguez said.

The release said the ACP Toolkit also includes a train the trainer webinar hosted with partners and representatives from the Federal Communications Commission who answered participant questions.

Family Service Association of San Antonio representatives shared their experience using the toolkit to sign up families for the ACP benefit and are using the enrollment guide to train their staff to enroll more clients in ACP. The city’s innovation team was on the call and announced a Spanish version of the enrollment guide will be launching soon.

District 3 Council Member Phyllis Viagran said her South Side district is affected by the digital divide, and partnerships with nonprofit organizations are key to reaching and enrolling San Antonio residents in the ACP benefit.

“Quality and affordable internet will sustain our city’s economic mobility because residents will be able to apply for jobs, have access to telemedicine, enroll in school and can take part in government public participation,” Viagran said.