federal grant to fund affordable internet access – WSOC TV

CHARLOTTE — A new plan from the Biden Administration is pushing for more families to have access to affordable internet.

The Affordable Connectivity Program would discount rates for high-speed internet by up to $30 for people who qualify.

Tiffany White is one of those folks. She works at Goodwill’s Tech Department in west Charlotte, a job she applied for online.

But White also knows what life is like without internet at home. Before landing the full-time job, she would travel to the Goodwill campus to use its computers.

“You have to have that internet, you have to have it,” White told Channel 9′s Anthony Kustura.

She now has her own home internet access through a federal program for low-income households.

“It helps out, that money goes toward other bills, toward rent and toward going back and forth to work,” she said.

Bruce Clark with the Center for Digital Equity at Queens University said roughly 50,000 families in Mecklenburg County don’t have internet access. Clark said he’s pushed for an initiative like this for years.

“The more barriers we can knock down, the more people who will have an opportunity to participate in our modern society,” Clark said.

The Center for Digital Equity estimates 82% of eligible Mecklenburg County residents have not signed up.

People qualify for the program if they make less than $27,000 a year or already receive assistance from SNAP, Medicaid or federal public housing.

In Mecklenburg County, you can dial 311 to get help from a digital navigator.

One like Tiffany White, whose job now is helping others just like her.

“We’re just now trying to come back, and we don’t know what the future is going to hold,” she said.

(WATCH BELOW: FCC wants to expand program to help low-income families get Internet access)

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