New program funds affordable internet access for those in need in Albany

ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) – Access to reliable and affordable internet is an issue for some communities in and around Albany.

Through the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), some Internet service providers offer high-speed Internet plans for $30 a month or less. If you use your ACP benefit for one of these plans, you will have no out-of-pocket costs for Internet service. Other plans include Comcast, AT&T, and Spectrum to name a few.

While ACP provides low-cost services through a federal grant, Dougherty County Libraries also help residents by providing free 24/7 Internet access. Library officials say they saw the need when the pandemic began in March.

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“Yes, the closure of COVID-19 brought out many sources that our community needed because we need to work from home from school and from home; and that is something that people do not have in this place. So, the government has given us a lot of grant opportunities that we’re taking advantage of to try and find other things,” said Dougherty County Libraries Assistant Director Christina Shepherd.

Dougherty County libraries also help by providing free 24/7 Internet access.  Some of them...
Dougherty County libraries also help by providing free 24/7 Internet access. Some of their services include checking wifi hotspots (like the one shown above) for two weeks at a time.(Source: WALB)

It is important to know that you can test these devices for two weeks at a time, and the Internet also works in the parking lot.

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“Right now it’s still the entire library system, not a specific branch. But we still plan to continue the services even after these grant periods are over. We have seen that they were needed in the community, we don’t want to take that away from them,” said Shepherd.

In other efforts to expand broadband, Albany State University received nearly $3 million in grant money from the United States Department of Commerce. The funds will allow ASU to purchase equipment, educational software, Internet access services, and other IT software and hardware for low-income students.

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Banner for Albany State University (Source: WALB)
Banner for Albany State University (Source: WALB)

Those interested in learning more information about the program, and/or who want to apply can click here. The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) can be aimed at helping people in three steps.

  • Step 1: Find Profits for Your Program
  • Step 2: Contact your participating Internet service provider to select an Internet plan.
  • Step 3: Submit!

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