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ACAC Joins K-12 Bridge to Broadband

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ACA Connects said Tuesday (Oct. 13) that it, too, is teaming with EducationSuperHighway to support the K-12 Bridge to Broadband initiative to provide broadband connections to students.

The effort, launched last month, is intended to help public school districts and states identify the low-income students who need help to join the remote hybrid learning educational system prompted by the pandemic.

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“The K-12 Bridge to Broadband program is a great opportunity for ACA Connects members to support students, schools, and their communities. We are honored to join with EducationSuperHighway in this initiative,” said ACA Connects president Matt Polka. “Broadband is essential for students, and never has this been truer than during the COVID-19 emergency. Without robust broadband connectivity for online learning, students who need to learn from home will be left behind, and that is simply unacceptable. The K-12 Bridge to Broadband program is targeted at addressing this problem, and our members are well-positioned to help."

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ACAC said over three dozen members have so far signaled they will participate after the association reached out to them.

The basic approach of the K-12 Bridge to Broadband is that participants will offer a "sponsored service" through which school systems can buy broadband for low-income students at a discount. ISPs will also work with school districts to identify the eligible students who don't have broadband.

ISPs will agree not to use any information shared with them by the school for target marketing to participating families or for other services unrelated to the sponsored service.

The new initiative got a shout-out from FCC chairman Ajit Pai, who urged school systems to use some of the billions in existing connectivity funding to help with the remote learning effort.