Federal program brings internet bill assistance to households statewide

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Published: May. 23, 2023 at 5:47 PM EDT
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PIKE COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT) - For many students in Southern and Eastern Kentucky, internet access at home is a luxury.

Many students go without basic internet connection, whether because of availability, or more commonly, due to affordability.

“In Kentucky, there are still spots that have availability issues, and local governments and the state government are working towards that resolve, but the largest problem is affordability,” said Dr. Marty Park, Chief Digital Officer at the Ky. Department of Education’s Office of Education Technology.

In Pike County, officials say a large portion of students do not have internet or cellular service at all.

“We found that about 5% of our students didn’t have any type of Internet at all, and out of that percentage, we had a group of students that wouldn’t even get cellular to their household,” said Pike Co. Schools Director of Technology Clayton Potter.

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The Federal Communication Commission’s Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) aims to combat those issues, giving eligible families $30 off of their monthly internet bill and a one-time allowance of $100 for a new laptop, tablet, or desktop PC.

Dr. Park adds that the goal of the program is to shrink the digital divide between students across the Commonwealth and provide equal opportunity to every student.

“Our students who have Internet access beyond the school campus have an extreme advantage over those who do not,” said Dr. Park. “We want those resources to be accessible on campus, inside of our schools, but beyond campus as well, especially inside homes.”

For more information on the Affordable Connectivity Program, you can visit the KDE website.

To find out if you are eligible for ACP assistance visit the ACP “Do I Qualify?” page, here.