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Alyssa Atkinson

Multi-Billion Dollar Program to Provide North Carolina Families Internet Bill Aid

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Alyssa Atkinson
Alyssa Atkinson
 2021-05-11

May updates for discounted internet and more.

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It is no secret that a lot of jobs and education now require access to a computer and high speed internet.

Unfortunately, internet and even a personal computer are luxuries that not everyone can afford, which can put many people at a disadvantage, especially those who are struggling immensely during these difficult times.

Even monthly conveniences, like paying bills online for rent, utilities, water, etc. require access to a computer and high speed internet.

Starting May 12, 2021, those who are in high need will be able to sign up for discounts in terms of internet costs, as well as discounts on purchases of laptops, tablets, and more. The full details concerning who is eligible for these discounts, along with what the totals are, will be described further below.

Who is eligible?

The first question which I am sure most of you are asking is who exactly is eligible for internet and technological device discounts.

Well, according to governor.nc.gov:

"Households with an income at or less than 135 percent of federal poverty guidelines are eligible for the EBBP [Emergency Broadband Benefit Program]."

The 3.2 billion dollar federal program opens in May, and the major goal is to help bridge the digital gap to give people in need online access to things like remote learning or applying to jobs (or even finding online/remote jobs).

What are the discounts?

The other question some of you are likely asking is what exactly the discount amounts to. Well, the internet discount amounts to:

"up to $50 a month to a household's internet bill. That increases to $75 a month for those living on tribal lands. Eligible households can also get a one-time discount of $100 toward the purchase of a laptop, tablet or desktop computer through participating providers."

The internet discount is substantial for those who are struggling to pay the monthly internet bill, but need access for essential functions such as a remote job, applying to jobs, or providing their children with the opportunity to learn remotely.

Furthermore, affordability is one of the main reasons people struggle to gain internet access:

"Affordability is one barrier among the inequities that prevent numerous North Carolina residents and households from accessing high-speed, high-quality internet," Jim Weaver, North Carolina Department of Information Technology (NCDIT) secretary and state chief information officer, said."

Hopefully, that barrier can be overcome, at least in part, through this program.

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What does this program really mean for residents?

Essentially, what this program boils down to is aid for eligible North Carolina residents who truly need it. Without internet access, it is much harder to find and secure a job, especially a remote one. However, it is also more difficult to further one's education, complete necessary tasks, such as pay bills online, and things of that nature.

Furthermore, as a result of the pandemic, many practices have moved online/remote, including jobs and education. This makes technology even more important. Having internet access as well as an electronic device such as a laptop or tablet, is arguably more crucial now than in previous years.

If this program is able to reach those who are truly struggling and need help getting the technological resources they don't currently have (or can't afford), then it has the potential to be a huge success.

Final Thoughts

This program could help many in need pay their internet bills. It could even provide people with better educational and work resources. All in all, the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program could improve the affordability of internet for North Carolina residents, and ultimately make it easier to have access to technological resources for an improved life.