Written by Valencia Jones

Thousands of Fulton County residents without broadband will now have free or discounted service. Local officials joined Internet service providers for an announcement Monday morning at the Dogwood Neighborhood Senior Center.

“We’re here today to launch the Fulton Digital Ambassador Program, which will help some 20,000 households in Fulton County connect to the broadband,” said Fulton County Commission Chairman Robb Pitts.

It’s a partnership between Fulton County, Comcast, AT&T, Goodwill of North Georgia and other organizations. Qualified low-income households will get free Internet service or a discount of up to $30 a month through the FCC’s Affordable Connectivity Program.

It didn’t take much convincing to get seniors citizens attending the press conference to sign up. “It’s great. It’s something that we, as seniors, deserve,” said Ernestine Gardner, a senior. “It’s a nice program, because, you know, seniors, we don’t know a lot of stuff like that,” said Sylvia Garland, another senior.

“From a Comcast perspective, we offer a variety of services, including Internet for $10,” said Andy Macke, the vice president of External Affairs at Comcast Cable.

“It’s a significant step forward for closing the digital divide, but also being able to offer equity of opportunity to all Fulton County residents,” said AT&T External Affairs Assistant Vice President Riley Blount.

“We want to make sure that our residents are engaged both at the government and the private sector level,” said Select Fulton Deputy Director Samir Abdullahi. A Census Bureau survey shows one in four households in Fulton County have no broadband access. This program will provide them with Internet access to basic services like healthcare, education and employment.

“Years ago, jobs like roofing repair and sheetrock work didn’t really need the technology component, but today, just to even apply for the job, you need the Internet access,” said Goodwill of North Georgia CEO Keith Parker.

“It truly gives us the access points to take the programming, the information and really push it out to our communities,” said Fulton County Manager Dick Anderson.

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The Affordable Connectivity Program is an FCC benefit program that helps ensure that households can afford the broadband they need for work, school, healthcare and more.

The benefit provides a discount of up to $30 per month toward internet 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.

Libraries and senior centers will serve as access points. For more information, click [here](https://www.fcc.gov/acp). #Broadband #Fulton #Connectivity #Internet

Source: CBS Atlanta

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