Do you ask for assistance when you need it most?
Some don’t for a myriad of reasons. Too proud, embarrassed, don’t know how or who to reach out to, or they don’t know what resources are available.
Resources can be physical, mental, or in most cases, financial.
Money can be a struggle for many families in some form. Even the most financially stable household can run into unexpected expenses like needing a new appliance, air conditioner, medical expenses, etc.
Let’s not forget the global pandemic that put thousands of people into dire financial situations they never thought possible from no fault of their own. Many adults and kids found their work and school lives turned upside down. In the worst-case scenarios, many lost their incomes completely.
It has been said that the pandemic brought 2030 to 2020, highlighting the need for households to connect for work, school, and entertainment. It also highlighted the digital divide in our country on two fronts. Those who are unserved and underserved.
When you think of these two categories, the first doesn’t have access to reliable internet because of their geographic locations and lack of services in their areas. Wisper is working on this connectivity issue through our ongoing Connect America Fund (CAF) commitments, which include as many as 20 new wireless towers being launched each month.
The other issue that causes households to be unserved and underserved can affect families anywhere. They simply cannot afford it. Our research shows that Wisper covers areas where the free lunch program for elementary students are high as 72 percent. This program indicates households that are at or below 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.
At Wisper, we believe that in today’s world reliable internet is just as important as a utility like water or electricity. With increased emphasis placed on the absolute necessity of the internet, families should not have to choose between paying for much-needed connectivity, or other household bills.
Wisper has already helped more than 300 underserved families by partnering with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the Affordable Connectivity Program (formerly the Emergency Broadband Benefit EBB). This benefit helps to connect eligible households to jobs, critical healthcare services, virtual classrooms, and so much more.
About the Affordable Connectivity Program
The Affordable Connectivity Program will provide a discount of up to $30 per month towards broadband service for eligible households and up to $75 per month for households on qualifying Tribal lands. Eligible households can also receive a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from participating providers if they contribute more than $10 and less than $50 toward the purchase price.
Many of these households have children eligible for the free and reduced lunched programs offered in school districts around the country. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), before the pandemic, nearly 100,000 schools/institutions serve school lunches to 29.6 million students each day, including 20.1 million free lunches, and 1.7 million reduced-price meals (student pays $0.40).
In many of the communities and school districts Wisper serves, an average of 40 percent of the students qualify for free and reduced lunches and the family would in turn qualify for the ACP.
The ACP is not a handout, it is instead a helping hand for families or households to stay connected. There should be no shame or embarrassment in taking advantage of a government program designed to help us in our everyday lives.
How to Apply
Eligible households must both apply for the program and contact a participating provider to select a service plan. Go to FCC.gov/ACP to apply online and to find participating providers near you. After you apply, you will need to contact a participating provider to select an eligible plan.
Libraries are free and supported by tax dollars. We don’t blink an eye about using them. Look at all the other government programs that help us every day that no one thought would catch on or were a waste of money. Unemployment, WIC, Social Security, Worker’s Compensation, the FDA, and the list goes on and on.
Never be ashamed to ask for help and never judge those who may need a little extra.