JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – According to the Mississippi Department of Human Services (MDHS), students and families in the state can benefit from a new program that aims to bridge the digital divide.
MDHS, in partnership with the Broadband Expansion and Accessibility of Mississippi (BEAM), is working to spread awareness about the Affordable Connectivity Program, which is a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Program.
“BEAM encourages all who are eligible to take advantage of ACP. Connectivity is such a vital part of education, healthcare, and the workforce today. We want all Mississippians to be connected and a part of today’s digital world of opportunities,” said Sally Doty, BEAM Director.
Officials said the program is for eligible households that are struggling to afford internet service. Those eligible for the 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 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.
A household is eligible if one member of the household meets at least one of the following criteria:
- 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
- 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 going to AffordableConnectivity.gov to submit an online application or print a mail-in application and contacting their preferred participating broadband provider and selecting a plan.