77 million Americans don’t have the internet in their homes.
What’s more just two-thirds of people who live in the country’s lower income brackets are using the internet from home, and only half of utilize it from their smartphone. This issue spans the nation but it disproportionately affects Black households.
Fortunately, there are two organizations that are aiming to bridge this pervasive digital divide.
In a news release, it was announced that The Balm In Gilead, Inc. has entered a partnership with the Black Churches 4 Digital Equity Coalition (BCDE) to gain access to broadband internet through the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP).
To help participants with their applications, Balm In Gilead, Inc. volunteers will be on-hand at local churches for the federally-funded program. The kickoff initiative will rollout enrollment events at local churches in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia on Saturday, October 8, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m according to the news release.
This focus on southern states is correlative to the country’s overall digital gap. According to survey results from Lending Tree, more rural states lack home access to internet.
Once applicants are officially enrolled in the program, recipients will receive one monthly service discount and one device (laptop, desktop computer, etc.) discount per household.
Per the news release, the program provides a discount up to $30 per month toward internet service, and those who live on Tribal lands can receive a discount up to $75 per month. Additionally, up to $100 will be discounted be allocated toward the purchase of a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet.
Those who qualify are households with an income below 200% of the federal poverty level (FPL), and are typically applicable to recipients of SNAP, Medicaid, SSI, WIC, Pell Grants or Free and Reduced-Price Lunch (FRPL).