MAY 2023 – PRESENT
Strengthening the Impact
DIGITAL NAVIGATION ASSISTANCE
|Digital Navigator Supervisor
Main Phone: 941-355-2721
Phone: 941-355-2721, x190
DeSoto County Office Main Phone: (863) 491-1445
|Women's Resource Center
Main Phone: 941-727-6797
Address: 1926 Manatee Ave W
Bradenton, FL 34205
Main Phone: 941-256-0625
Address: The Glasser/Schoenbaum Human Services Center - 1750 17th Street, Sarasota, FL 34234
Main Phone: 941-355-7637
Address: 350 Braden Ave.
Sarasota, FL 34243
Main Phone: 941-281-5813
Bradenton Center Phone: (941) 358-4200
Sarasota Career Center: (941) 358-4200
|Multicultural Health Institute
What is The Gap?
- Connectivity: The ability to connect to affordable, reliable, high-speed internet
- Devices: Possessing the right device for one’s needs
- Digital Skills Training and Support: Having access to the necessary training and support to use devices and programs effectively while solving technical issues when they arise
To optimize and amplify impact, The Patterson Foundation will continue to engage with community members to support closing digital access gaps related to connectivity, devices, and skill/support.
Why is The Gap evolving?
However, in early 2024, the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) announced that ACP applications and enrollments would no longer be accepted after February 7, 2024. Without additional funding from Congress, the allocated $14.2 billion for the ACP is projected to be depleted by April 2024. Consequently, the FCC has commenced the process of winding down the ACP.
To further empower individuals in the Suncoast region, The Gap will shift its focus from bridging the gap between ACP eligibility and enrollment to addressing the digital access disparities among those who have affordable internet, devices, and skill support and those who do not.
Why does The Patterson Foundation support closing The Gap?
How is The Patterson Foundation helping to close The Gap?
The Patterson Foundation uses a multi-sector approach, engaging people, businesses, nonprofits, government, and media. The goal is to drive collective efforts to close this gap by fostering wide collaboration. Initiatives, including Digital Access for All, Aspirations to Actions, and the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, leverage resources and build relationships based on trust to find innovative ways to connect with community members, generate awareness, and increase connectivity, devices, and skill training options locally and nationally. Tapping into the Foundation's Digital Navigator network, interested and eligible households will receive assistance obtaining one or more of these essential options.
What is the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP)?
2024 ACP Status: Without additional funding from Congress, the allotted $14.2 billion to fund the ACP is projected to run out in April 2024. Because of the program's wind-down, the ACP must stop new enrollments. Starting February 8, 2024, no new enrollments will be accepted. After the ACP funds run out (projected in April 2024), households participating in the ACP will no longer receive the ACP discounts. Learn more here.
What is the Digital Access status in our four-county region?
Whether at the local, regional, or national level, the main barriers to digital access for asset-limited families and communities revolve around four key factors: access, adoption, affordability, and awareness. In our region, thousands of people lack connection to one or more of the three fundamental elements, as illustrated in the table below.Although these numbers demonstrate that thousands of households within the four-county region are connected, it does not account for the following three things:
- Connectivity is the ability to connect to affordable and reliable high-speed internet. Within this network, households face the challenge of balancing the cost of their monthly internet connection with their essential needs. The service they pay for is often unreliable, hindering their capacity to work and learn remotely.
- Device sharing is common among households. Sharing devices within a household poses a challenge for families. While most households possess at least one device, it often needs to be shared among multiple family members. Unfortunately, this can restrict each member's capacity to utilize the internet meaningfully.
- Having a smartphone is not enough. To connect and participate effectively in the online world, it is crucial to have the appropriate devices tailored to specific requirements. A laptop, desktop, or tablet are essential tools, whereas relying solely on a smartphone falls short. Despite the intelligence of modern smartphones, they cannot support remote learning, remote work, or the application process for social services.