Photo: ACP Enrollment
Photo: ACP Enrollment
Photo: ACP Enrollment
Photo: STUG representative preparing and fixing recycled devices
The Gap


The Gap

The Purpose

Digital technology affords people an evolving assortment of avenues to connect with one another and the world around us, creating pathways to the resources and relationships we depend on to maintain our well-being and lay the bedrock for a more inclusive society. However, those without access to digital connections or devices fall behind in connecting with vital services and participating in the modern world. Strengthening digital access among people of all ages and backgrounds — especially those from asset-limited families — helps ensure everyone is included in our journey toward these new realities and benefiting from the many advancements. A promising opportunity to strengthen digital access is through the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), which helps ensure households can afford the broadband they need for work, school, healthcare, and more. ACP is a benefit that provides a discount of up to $30 per month toward internet service for eligible households and up to $75 per month for households on qualifying Tribal lands. Eligible households can also receive a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from participating providers if they contribute more than $10 and less than $50 toward the purchase price.

Strengthening the Impact

Through The Gap, part of the Digital Access for All initiative, The Patterson Foundation creates opportunities for eligible asset-limited families and individuals to enroll in the ACP program and benefit from low-cost internet and devices to foster inclusion and well-being — closing this enrollment gap.


Agency NameDigital Navigator SupervisorContact InformationWebsite
Goodwill Manasota Margie Genter
Main Phone: 941-355-2721
Women's Resource Center Brent Giangregorio
Main Phone: 941-727-6797
Address: 1926 Manatee Ave W
Bradenton, FL 34205
UnidosNOW Lucero Guzman
Main Phone: 941-256-0625
Address: The Glasser/Schoenbaum Human Services Center - 1750 17th Street, Sarasota, FL 34234
Building C2
Easterseals SWFL Theresa Collins
Main Phone: 941-355-7637
Address: 350 Braden Ave.
Sarasota, FL 34243
FUNducation Inc Neirda Thompson-Pemberton
Main Phone: 941-281-5813
Goodwill SWFL Angela Hemstreet
Office: 941-255-3884
Cell: 239-823-9158
CareerSource Suncoast Anthony Gagliano
Bradenton Center Phone: (941) 358-4200
Sarasota Career Center: (941) 358-4200
Multicultural Health Institute Bonnie Hardy-Ramsaeur
Tel: 941-706-3362
  Darlene Brown
Tel: 941-706-3362
  Angela Miles
Tel: 941-706-3362


Click on frequently asked questions below to learn more about this initiative...

What is The Gap?

An ever-widening gap exists between individuals and families eligible for The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) and those who have enrolled. The ACP program helps households afford the broadband they need for work, school, healthcare, and more. Although thousands in our four-county region qualify for ACP benefits, many are unaware of the program, skeptical, lack the skills and support to apply, or live in a housing situation that requires them to pay for their internet services directly through their landlord.

Why does The Patterson Foundation support closing The Gap?

The Patterson Foundation strengthens the efforts of people, organizations, and communities by focusing on issues that address common aspirations and foster wide participation. Digital access has emerged as a basic necessity to connect to various vital services that have increasingly shifted to an online format, including those related to education, health, and employment — a necessity many asset-limited families and communities struggle to acquire. It is more important than ever for community members to connect digitally to vital services and participate in modern society.

How is The Patterson Foundation helping to close The Gap?

To optimize and amplify impact, The Patterson Foundation is initiating an endeavor to close the ACP eligibility and enrollment gap to ensure those eligible for ACP benefits are taking advantage of the program.

The Foundation's approach is working with people, businesses, nonprofits, government, and the media to catalyze efforts to close this enrollment gap. TPF's Digital Access for All (DA4A), Aspirations to Actions, and the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading initiatives leverage resources and human power to find innovative ways to connect with community members to generate awareness and increase ACP enrollment. DA4A will also leverage its growing network of Digital Navigators who have completed TPF's Digital Navigator Program to enroll eligible households in the ACP program.

Learn more about The Gap by reading the following reports:

What is the Affordable Connectivity Program?

The Affordable Connectivity Program is a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) program that helps connect families and households struggling to afford internet service. The benefit allows participating internet service providers to offer a discount of up to $30 for eligible households and up to $75 per month for households on qualifying Tribal lands. Eligible households can also receive a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from participating providers if they contribute more than $10 and less than $50 toward the purchase price.

A household is eligible for the Affordable Connectivity Program if the household income is at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines or if a member of the household meets at least one of the criteria below:
  • Received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year
  • Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating provider's existing low-income internet program
  • Participates in one of these assistance programs:
    • Free and Reduced-Price School Lunch Program or School Breakfast Program, including at U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Community Eligibility Provision schools
    • SNAP
    • Medicaid
    • Federal Housing Assistance, including:
      • Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program (Section 8 Vouchers)
      • Project-Based Rental Assistance (PBRA)/Section 202/ Section 811
      • Public Housing
      • Affordable Housing Programs for American Indians, Alaska Natives or Native Hawaiians
    • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
    • WIC
    • Veterans Pension or Survivor Benefits
    • or Lifeline

What is the Affordable Connectivity Program enrollment status in our four-county region?

As of April 2023, over 36,000 households are enrolled in the Affordable Connectivity Program in Charlotte, DeSoto, Manatee, and Sarasota counties. Many more households qualify for enrollment by meeting one or more ACP eligibility criteria, such as participation in SNAP, Medicaid, WIC, and Lifeline, creating opportunities to increase ACP program enrollment numbers throughout the Suncoast.

Number of Households Enrolled in the Suncoast
Charlotte County 4,911
DeSoto County 1,191
Manatee County 21,749
Sarasota County 8,425

Source: USAC’s ACP Enrollment and Claims Tracker. This data is current as of April 1, 2023.

How can eligible households learn more or apply for the benefit?

Eligible households can learn more about the benefit, including eligibility and enrollment information, by visiting or calling 877-384-2575.

Organizations participating in The Patterson Foundation’s Digital Navigator Program are trained to connect community members with access to low-cost home internet service, an affordable computing device, and foundational digital literacy training based on their specific needs. The following organizations have participated in the program:
These organizations can help eligible households enroll in the ACP program for free. Contact information can be found above for these organizations.

What additional resources might be helpful?

Explore consumer FAQs: Learn more about the ACP program here.

ACP: What It Is & How It Works: Watch a video here.

Use the Companies Near Me tool to find a participating provider. You can search internet service providers by city, state/territory, or zip code. Or download the list of participating providers.

To help raise awareness about the ACP: Download and customize these available outreach materials for public use.

To request an FCC Speaker: Have an FCC consumer expert share information about the Affordable Connectivity Program at an upcoming event by making the request here.

Who can I contact about The Gap?

For more information, contact Digital Access for All initiative lead Cheri Coryea:
Glimpse experiences from past program participants and learn about the impact of embedding digital navigation into their organization’s daily work and culture.
(total time: 5 minutes)

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