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

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

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

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

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“Yes, this Covid-19 shutdown really opened up a lot of resources that our community needed because we have to be able to work from home from school from home; and that’s something people don’t have in this field. So the government provided a number of grant opportunities that we took advantage of to try to get more stock,” said Christina Shepherd, assistant director of Dougherty County Libraries.

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 testing Wi-Fi hotspots (like the one pictured) for two weeks at a time.(Source: WALB)

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

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“Right now, we’re still like, it’s the whole library system, just not the specific branch. However, we still intend to continue providing services even after these grant periods have ended. We’ve seen that they’ve just been really 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 grants from the United States Department of Commerce. The funds will allow ASU to purchase devices, educational software, Internet access services and other IT software and hardware for low-income students.

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

Those interested in learning more about the program and/or interested in applying can click here. The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) is designed to help people in three steps.

  • Step 1. Claim program benefits
  • Step 2. Contact your participating ISP to select an Internet plan.
  • Step 3: Submit!

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