Internet Subsidies Available to Some Local Residents

Internet Subsidies Available to Some Local Residents
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Eligible Dallas residents now may receive help with their internet bills, according to an August 1 City of Dallas press release. Residents who qualify will receive a $30 subsidy through the Affordable Connectivity Program funded by the Federal Communications Commission. During the mayor’s annual Back to School Fair, nonprofit partners and city officials helped residents sign up.

Mayor Eric Johnson said, “Access to technology and the internet is vital for the future of our children and our workforce.” He was excited that the program could “help our historically underserved and overlooked communities.” The mayor encouraged residents to apply, saying, “Together, we can build a more equitable and vibrant 21st-century city.”

Households can also use $100 toward purchasing a tablet, laptop, or computer, as long as the household can contribute less than $50 but more than $10. The purchase must be made through a participating broadband provider, according to the press release.

To be eligible, only one household member must meet at least one of the FCC criteria. These criteria require that a household member:

Have an income that is at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines

Participate in certain assistance programs, such as SNAP, Medicaid, Federal Public Housing Assistance, SSI, WIC, or Lifeline

Is approved to receive benefits under the free and reduced-price school lunch program or the school breakfast program, including through the USDA Community Eligibility Provision

Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating broadband provider’s existing low-income program

Through the Affordable Connectivity Program, households can get a one-time device discount and one service discount per month.

The Affordable Connectivity Program will help Dallas “make strides in crossing the digital divide” and create a “more equitable city,” City Manager T.C. Broadnax said.

In 2021, Dallas was ranked a U.S. city with one of the highest rates of households lacking internet access, the Dallas Observer reported.

Jessica Rosenworcel, an FCC chairwoman, stated in a January press release that “the reality is that for too many families across the country, paying for their internet bill can mean making sacrifices in other parts of their budget,” Rosenworcel said.

She went on to add, “There are still too many households making the difficult choice between paying for gas and groceries or paying for a broadband bill so that their kids can keep up with schoolwork, so that a family member can attend a needed telehealth appointment, or so that they can work remotely.”

In response to those needs, Rosenworcel said, “the FCC has new tools to support these families and reach those most at risk of digital disconnection for years to come.”

Dallas residents can apply online, mail a paper application, or enroll through a participating broadband provider.

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