Broadband support available through the Affordable Connectivity program

By Mary Jo Coulehan | Chamber of Commerce in Pagosa Springs Area

As schools gear up to reopen, more people work from home full-time or part-time, and we become more dependent on the Internet for just everyday use, families feel that access to the Internet is critical.

The Colorado Broadband office, through the Federal Communications Commission, offers a broadband utility to help families and households struggling to afford Internet services. How can you apply for the program and who is eligible?

First of all, what are the benefits? The program offers a $30/month discount for Internet services or a $75/month discount for households on eligible tribal lands. There is also a one-time discount of up to $100 for a laptop or desktop computer or tablet purchased through a participating carrier.

Participants are eligible for the program if they meet at least one of the following criteria:

• Their household income is equal to or less than 200 percent of the federal poverty guidelines.

• They participate in an assistance program such as SNAP, Medicaid, Public Housing Assistance, Veterans Pension, WIC, or SSI, the Free or Affordable School Lunch Program or the School Breakfast Program, or have received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year. Tribal members must participate in one of the tribal programs such as TANF, BIA General Assistance, Food Distribution, or Tribal Head Start.

Interested parties should go to www.affordableconnectivity.gov and apply. They should then also contact their preferred provider to ensure that the provider is participating in the program and select an eligible plan so that the discount can be applied to their bill. Some carriers may also have an alternate application that must be completed. Eligible households must both apply for the program and contact the Internet service provider. As an employer, pass this information on to your employees.

We ask that you post this information in a break room or bulletin board for your staff to use. If employees have access to this benefit, communication as an employer can also become easier for you. Questions about the program can be directed to www.fcc.gov/acp or (877) 384-2575.

Adventure Package Raffle

With only one month left until ColorFest, have you bought your Passport to Pagosa ticket, your Bands and Brews ticket, or your Adventure Package raffle ticket? Passport tickets are going fast and the reserved seats are almost sold out.

This year we have a number of new and returning breweries showcasing their specialty drinks at the Bands and Brews Festival. The live music for this event will see Lisa Saunders and the Caborado Band and Felix Peralta as musical performers. Bob Hemenger will be the Friday night performer for the Passport to Pagosa.

The Adventure Package Lottery is offering three great prizes this year: a Kona Lava mountain bike and a Red Paddle Co. stand up paddle board complete with pump, carry bag and paddles are the alternative prices. The top prize is a 2021 Polaris RZR and the towing trailer.

Tickets can be easily purchased online at www.pagosachamber.com under the Community and Chamber News section on the homepage. You can also drop by the Chamber offices at 105 Hot Springs Blvd. to buy your tickets, one ticket for $5, three tickets for $10 or seven tickets for $20.

Don’t miss your chance to win one of three great outdoor adventure prizes. The prize draw will take place at the Bands and Brews event on September 17th at 7pm

You can’t win if you don’t play.

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