NewsCovering Kern County


Bringing affordable broadband to Bakersfield

Posted at 8:30 AM, Jan 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-08 11:30:54-05

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Affordability is one of the key roadblocks to narrowing the digital divide. That’s why AT&T is taking advantage of a new federal aid program to lower the monthly cost of broadband service.

Congress recently created the long-term $14 billion Affordable Connectivity Program, investing to ensure everyone has the opportunity to stay connected.

Congress is replacing its temporary Emergency Broadband Benefit program with a new permanent service.

The ACP will lower the cost of internet service by up to $30 per month for eligible households — and up to $75 per month on qualifying tribal lands.

“To be able to have this program to subsidize internet, wireless, or prepaid is a huge advantage to help our families,” said Lupita Sanchez-Cornejo, Director of External & Legislative Affairs for AT&T.

AT&T and Cricket Wireless are looking to inform customers of this new opportunity to afford the broadband connections they need for work, school, healthcare, and more.

Especially during the pandemic with people working remotely and children learning from home, access to stable internet has become more important than ever.

“It was that kind of relying on a network to connect families, students, and to continue that learning, and what we’re seeing today, 2022, is there’s still a need for that," Sanchez-Cornejo said. "So having this program will allow families to have connection at home that allows us to continue to live our lives in what the new normal is.”

Now thanks to the ACP, more families will have that access. ACP is open to families determined eligible by the federal government. The program applies to those households receiving WIC benefits or have an income at or below 200% of the federal poverty guidelines.

Those customers already receiving assistance from the emergency broadband benefit program be contacted to reverify their eligibility for this new program.

“This program is open across the country and so we are continuing to evaluate programs and how we can align, and so we are excited to participate at a national level.”