Wayne State University will host the opening day of Detroit Digital Inclusion Week, October 2, at WSU’s McGregor Memorial Conference Center.
The future of the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) will be among several hot topics addressed on the opening day.
Experts say ACP, a Federal Communications Commission benefit program launched to help low-income Americans connect to the Internet during the COVID-19 pandemic, will likely run out of funding in 2024 if no action is taken to sustain it.
Through the efforts of Connect 313 and its partners, 123,825 eligible Detroit households representing more than 66% of qualified properties, have enrolled in the program – the highest enrollment nationwide for cities with more than 150,000 eligible households. Participants receive a monthly subsidy of $30 for their bill and a one-time $100 credit for a device.
“ACP funding has played a critical role in getting Detroiters connected to the Internet and making access more affordable,” said Vittoria Katanski, Connect 313’s Executive Director. “Connect 313 exists to ensure every Detroiter is fully digitally included, improving the quality of life for all residents. That’s why the future of this vital program will be an important topic of discussion across all of our panel discussions at Detroit Digital Inclusion Week.”
Internet access is essential for academic success, economic opportunity, effective communication, improved health and wellness, banking, and so much more.
To kick off the city’s fifth annual Digital Inclusion Week on October 2, representatives from the City of Detroit and the Michigan High-Speed Internet Office will be among those on hand beginning at 9:35 a.m. to discuss “the state of digital inclusion.”
Event sponsors include Wayne State University, DELL Technologies, Comcast and Verizon. There will be a series of additional panel discussions throughout the day.
“We’re bringing together experts from across the region and state to highlight lessons learned from digital equity and inclusion research and create pathways to action and policy implementation,” said Katanski. “We know that access equals opportunity. People and communities must not be left behind because they don’t have digital access. Detroit Digital Inclusion Week will address the remaining gaps and how we can eliminate them.”
The remainder of the week, October 3-6, will include activities and community events at Connect 313’s Neighborhood Tech Hubs and other locations throughout the city. Activities will include STEM family game night pop-ups, community-led learning circles that lead small business owners and entrepreneurs through information and discussion about getting started with technology, and more. The full schedule will be available at connect313.org.
All events are free and open to the public. To register, visit this link.