Mississippi students and their families can now benefit from a new program that will help bridge the digital divide.
The Mississippi Department of Human Services (MDHS) in partnership with Broadband Expansion and Accessibility of Mississippi (BEAM) are working to spread awareness about the Affordable Connectivity Program, a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Program.
This program is for eligible households struggling to afford internet service. The long-term benefits will help lower broadband service costs for households. Those eligible for the Affordable Connectivity Program can receive up to $30 off their broadband service per month and up to $75 off their service if they live on tribal lands. Benefits also include a $100 discount per household on a one-time purchase of a computer, laptop, or tablet if the household contributes between $10 - $50 to the purchase through a participating broadband provider.
“BEAM encourages all who are eligible to take advantage of ACP. Connectivity is such a vital part of education, healthcare, and the workforce today," BEAM Director Sally Doty of Brookhaven says. "We want all Mississippians to be connected and a part of today’s digital world of opportunities."
During the new school term, digital connectivity will play a key role in preparing students for the workplace of tomorrow.
A household is eligible for the new program if one member of the household meets at least one of the criteria below:
Has an income that is at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines;
Participates in certain assistance programs, such as SNAP, Medicaid, Federal Public Housing Assistance, SSI, WIC, or Lifeline;
Participates in one of several Tribal specific programs, such as Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance, Tribal Head Start (only households meeting the relevant income qualifying standard), Tribal TANF, or Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations;
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;
Received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year; or
Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating broadband provider’s existing low-income program.
Eligible households can enroll through a participating broadband provider or by (1) going to AffordableConnectivity.gov to submit an online application or print a mail-in application and (2) contacting their preferred participating broadband provider and selecting a plan. For more information about the Affordable Connectivity Program, visit www.fcc.gov/ACP or call 877-384-2575 between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. ET any day of the week.