City of Phoenix receiving $700,000 grant to connect more residents to internet
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - The City of Phoenix is receiving a $700,000 grant from the FCC to connect more residents to the internet through the Affordable Connectivity Program.
The federal program providing credit to eligible households to pay their internet bills was launched last fall. Maricopa County partnered with Common Sense Media to campaign about the resource and signed up over 50,000 households across the county.
However, since the launch, it came to the City of Phoenix’s attention that it was not signing up as many households as it could be to this program. It estimates anywhere from 100,000 to 200,00 eligible households are not yet participating in the program. Therefore, the city will use the grant money towards more outreach efforts.
It plans on hosting more awareness events, investing more into the program’s toll-free hotline, and offering in-person application labs across the city. Phoenix’s Community and Economic Development Team’s Special Projects Administrator, Gretchen Wolfe, said it can be hard for people to come forward about this issue, and it’s crucial the city meets them halfway.
“It’s really not a matter of the internet being a nice to have anymore it’s a need to have,” Wolfe said, “we’ll also be partnering with some of our community-based organizations so people who may not be ready to trust the government on this one, will trust their trusted resource, someone in their community.” An eligible household would receive a $30 credit per month to pay their internet bill. If you live on tribal lands you can get up to a $75 monthly credit.
HOW TO QUALIFY:
- Household income below 200% of federal poverty lines.
- Ex: four-person household with an annual income of $60,000
- Receiving SNAP, WIC, Medicaid, supplemental security income, federal public housing assistance, veterans pension, and survivor benefits.
- A student on free or reduced lunch, federal Pell Grant, or lifeline recipient.
Wolfe said there are many city broadband networks that have a monthly rate of $30, so eligible households can essentially earn free internet. The city is still waiting to receive the fund, but the Affordable Connectivity Program is available now. Click HERE to apply, or call 1-877-384-2575.
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