The Amazon Echo Show is a great tool to allow people to video chat with friends and family; however, it requires internet access to function. Actually, all “smart home” technology requires WIFI to work. There are many Assistive Technology (AT) devices the consultants at ND Assistive recommend must have an internet connection. If you know an individual who can’t afford WIFI for their home, ND Assistive would like to share how everyone can be connected!
The Affordable Connectivity Plan (ACP) gives eligible households a discount on broadband service. The goal is for more low-income Americans to have the affordable broadband services they need for school, work, and healthcare. The ACP provides qualifying low-income households with a monthly discount of up to $30 per month and up to $75 per month for households on qualifying Tribal lands. It also allows a one-time $100 discount on purchasing a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet. To learn more about eligibility and how to apply for the Affordable Connectivity Program, visit AffordableConnectivity.gov. A person is likely eligible for ACP if they already receive government benefits like Medicaid, SSI, and SNAP. College students who get aid from the federal Pell grant and younger students receiving Free and Reduced-Price Lunches through the school district are also eligible.
Per the Federal Communications Commission website, there is a list of North Dakota internet providers. For example, Midco offers an Internet Basics package for $30/month. It is not listed on their website; however, it is available to individuals who are qualified under the ACP. Here are the instructions to have Midco apply the discount to an individual’s Midco account. Through the ACP discount, a person can get internet service at no additional cost to the consumer.
A separate program called Lifeline is available to provide additional discounts for eligible low-income subscribers for both a wireline or wireless service. The Lifeline discount for eligible subscribers is up to $9.25 per month for qualifying monthly broadband or bundled services that meet the broadband minimum service standards. The discount for eligible subscribers is up to $5.25 for monthly service that only qualifies for the voice minimum service standards. You can see if you are eligible by reviewing the information available at lifelinesupport.org (click “Do I Qualify?”). Consumers who would like assistance from a service provider when applying can use the “Companies Near Me” tool to locate a Lifeline program service provider in their area.
Do you know someone who feels like they can’t afford WIFI for their home? Nearly 40 percent of the households in America qualify for these programs. High-speed internet access is vital for all ages to telework, see health providers remotely, and don’t forget online shopping and streaming entertainment. When everyone has access to the WIFI, they can take advantage of great assistive technology devices to help them connect with family and friends.