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

ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) – Accessing reliable and affordable internet is a problem for some communities in and around Albany.

Through the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), some Internet service providers offer a high-speed Internet plan for $30 a month or less. If you apply your ACP benefit to one of these plans, you will not have an out-of-pocket cost for online service. Some plans include Comcast, AT&T and Spectrum to name a few.

While the ACP offers low-cost services through a federal grant, the Dougherty County Libraries also help residents online for free 24/7. Library officials said they saw the need when the pandemic began in March.

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“Yes, that shutdown of COVID-19 really turned on a lot of resources that our community needed because we need to be able to work from home from school from home; and that’s something that people don’t have in this area. So, the government has provided several grants that we took advantage of to try to get more supplies,” said Dougherty County Libraries Assistant Director Christina Shepherd.

Dougherty County Libraries also help by providing 24/7 internet for free.  Some of their...
Dougherty County Libraries also help by providing 24/7 internet for free. Some of their services include monitoring wifi hotspots (like the one pictured above) for two weeks at a time.(Source: WALB)

It is important to know that you can check these devices two weeks at a time, and the internet also works from the parking lot.

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“Right now we are still the entire library system, just not the specific branch. But we still plan to continue the services even after these grant periods are over. We saw that they were completely needed in the community, and we wouldn’t want to take that away from them,” Shepherd said.

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

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

Those interested in learning more information about the program, and/or wishing to apply, can click here. The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) can aims to help people in three steps.

  • Step 1: Claim Your Program Benefit
  • Step 2: Contact a participating Internet service provider to select an Internet plan.
  • Step 3: Submit!

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