[COLUMN] Act now to get affordable home internet

Photo by John Schnobrich on Unsplash

By Rachelle Arizmendi

With over 4 million people in the United States, Filipino Americans are the 3rd largest Asian American group in the county. In California, we are the largest Asian American group with 1.6 million. Although Filipino Americans have an average household income higher than the average US household income, there are many Filipinos living in poverty. The pandemic showed us how stark the digital divide really is in our community. We have to close the digital divide and get all California Filipino households connected to Home Internet Service.

The author, Rachelle Arizmendi is the mayor of the City of Sierra Madre and Vice President & Chief Operating Officer of Pacific Asian Consortium in Employment (PACE)

Now there is a limited-time program offered by FCC that eligible households can get Home Internet service for free or as low as $23 per month. Those that are living in a home with a low household income may be eligible to get a discount on Home Internet (up to $50 a month off the bill), making many services significantly cheaper or even free in some cases.

The Emergency Broadband Benefit, a new temporary federal program, may only last a few months so don’t wait, learn if you or a community you support are eligible and apply today.

Here are some tips to find out if you may be eligible and if so, how to apply. This program is designed to help get more people connected to the Internet at home for online learning, for work, for job training, for healthcare, for engaging with people in your life and your community. You must act fast because the offer may only last for a few months:

• It is easy to qualify for the Emergency Broadband Benefit if you or a household member is already enrolled in another government-backed program, including the Lifeline Program, National School Lunch Program (NSLP), CalFresh (food stamp), Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), Medi-Cal, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or a college student with a Pell Grant, and more. The benefit is up to $75 per month for households on qualifying Tribal Lands.

• Eligibility also extends to households where someone in the household lost income during the pandemic due to job loss or furlough.

• It will take just minutes to sign up, if you are already enrolled in an Internet Service Provider’s discount program for households with low-incomes.

• For households in the Lifeline program already receiving a discount for mobile phone service, you can keep that service and still be eligible to use the new up-to-$50 a month discount to pay for a better home Internet plan or more data on your mobile phone.

Please share this information about this important benefit with your family, friends, neighbors and school and community leaders.

Don’t wait, learn if you or a community you support are eligible and apply today online or by calling 844-841-INFO.

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The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of the Asian Journal, its management, editorial board and staff.

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Rachelle Arizmendi is the Mayor of the City of Sierra Madre and Vice President & Chief Operating Officer of Pacific Asian Consortium in Employment (PACE), one of the largest Asian Pacific Islander (API) community development corporations in the nation.

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