BUFFALO, NY (WIVB) — A new federal program included in the Infrastructure and Investment Act is saving people money on their internet bills.
The Affordable Connectivity Program allows people who meet certain criteria to save up to $30 per month on their Internet bill. People who live on tribal land could save up to $75 per month. The program, which is overseen by the FCC, offers eligible families a discount on laptops, desktops and tablets from select vendors.
“I still have families who are struggling extremely during this pandemic,” said Buffalo Common Council member Mitch Nowakowski. “I still have kids at home doing their homework from their parents’ cellphones, that’s not only wrong, it’s a huge indicator of how well they’re doing in school.”
To be eligible, you must be at or below federal poverty guidelines or receiving benefits such as SNAP or Medicaid. If your family participates in the Federal Free or Reduced Price Lunch or Breakfast Program, you are also eligible.
“There are tens of thousands of households in the city of Buffalo alone that will qualify for this program and this program will save them $30 a month, which can be a lot of money if you’re on the verge of being able to do in your own home,” said Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz.
According to the US Census, 30% of the residents of the city of Buffalo live in poverty. Many people will be eligible.
“Broadband access is especially important to the East Side of Buffalo, it is critical to the success and sustainability of East Side community members to have high-speed access and connectivity. safe and quality,” said Sigourney Cook, executive director of the King Center for Urban Living.
According to Congressman Brian Higgins’ office, many families from schools in Buffalo, Cheektawaga, Maryvale, Cheektawaga Sloan, Cleveland Hill, Ken-Ton, Lackawanna, Lockport, Niagara Falls, Niagara Wheatfield, Sweet Home, City of Tonawanda and West Seneca will be eligible.
Poloncarz says plans are still moving forward to create Erie-Net — it’s a network that aims to improve broadband service across the county. Network construction work is expected to begin this summer.
Even though we’re in the digital age, many families told us they couldn’t get or afford reliable internet and hoped something would be done to dramatically improve service and reduce costs.
Jeff Preval is an award-winning presenter and journalist who joined the News 4 team in December 2021. See more of his work here.