Thousands of Maryland Households Qualify for Internet Subsidy
Thursday, August 31, 2023
Maryland residents struggling to pay for web access can get help from two connected programs.
The Federal Communications Commission's Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) offers qualified households a leg up in paying for high speed web service.
The program is supplemented in Maryland by the state's Emergency Broadband Benefit, and between the two programs Marylanders who qualify can get up to $45 a month towards high speed access.
While Maryland is the only state with its own broadband subsidy paired with the ACP, Uhunoma Edamwen - digital equity coordinator with the Office of Statewide Broadband - said there are many people in the state who qualify for the program but aren't participating.
"There's about 230,000 households in Maryland that are enrolled out of a total 779,000 eligible households," said Edamwen. "So there are about 550,000 households not currently enrolled in the ACP program that we do want enrolled."
For information about who qualifies and how to sign up, visit getinternet.gov.
With so much of life being conducted online, advocates are making the case that high-speed internet access should be seen as a necessity.
From telehealth to keeping up with the grandkids, high speed internet also helps people avoid isolation.
Edamwen said the pandemic illustrated the stark realities of the digital divide.
"There are many stories from the pandemic, where folks were going to McDonald's to use the wifi and for their kids to do homework," said Edamwen. "And we'd like for folks to be able to enjoy those benefits and be able to do what they need to do in life, whether it's apply for jobs, you know getting ahead at school, or managing their own health care, or paying their bills for that matter at home, on their own time."
In addition to support for monthly internet service fees, the ACP also features a one time discount of up to $100 off the purchase price of a laptop, desktop, or tablet from participating providers.
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