The Digital Access Team was created as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. With the prevalence of offsite/online learning modalities, digital access has become more important than ever. The team is focused on providing opportunities for K-12 students as well as post-secondary students to connect with internet-enabled devices as well as adequate internet access. The team is focused on the Brown County area and within the New North region, a region of Northeast Wisconsin comprised of 18 counties. This team consists of 12 community members who play important roles in connecting students as well as the community with the necessary devices and internet connectivity to succeed in work and life.
ABC’s Digital Access Team did a survey looking at the digital access needs of schools within the Brown County area. There are still schools in need of internet enabled devices (0-12% of students depending on school) and students needing adequate access to internet (6-25% of students depending on the school). According to the schools, it is a funding issue that prevents internet enabled devices to be in every student’s hands while the access to internet is more dependent on the consistency, speed and reliability of service in an individual home.
The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) is a FCC program that replaces the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program (EBB Program) to help low-income households pay for internet service and connected devices. If your household is eligible, you can receive: up to a $30/month discount on your internet service, up to a $75/month discount if your household is on qualifying Tribal lands, a one-time discount of up to $100 for a laptop, tablet, or desktop computer (with a co-payment of more than $10 but less than $50).
Equity Gap Statement
Digital access is an essential tool for the success of K-12, postsecondary students, and their families in Brown County. Currently, not all students have effective digital access to enable optimal learning in a hybrid model. The Digital Access Team is tasked with finding equitable solutions to connect unserved and/or underserved K-12, postsecondary students, and their families in Brown County with the necessary internet-enabled devices, reliable internet speed, and technology support to ensure that they are all able to achieve in work and life.