Vyve, Nex-Tech participating in aid program for pandemic internet service
TOPEKA, Kan. — Gov. Laura Kelly is encouraging qualifying Kansas residents to apply for the Federal Communications Commission’s Emergency Broadband Program to help households struggling to pay for internet service during the pandemic.
Vye Communications and Nex-Tech, with offices in Hays, are participants in the program which opens on May 12.
“We know broadband is no longer a luxury, but a necessity for Kansans and our communities to participate in the digital economy,” Governor Kelly said. “I strongly encourage every Kansas family eligible to take advantage of the opportunity and apply for the Emergency Broadband Program.”
The Emergency Broadband Program provides a discount of up to $50 monthly towards internet service for eligible households, and up to $75 monthly for eligible households on tribal lands. In addition, all eligible households will qualify for a one-time discount of up to $100 on a computer, laptop, or tablet after a $10-$50 contribution toward the purchase price.
“This program is important to address broadband affordability issues and drive progress on digital equity in Kansas,” Stan Adams, director of the Office of Broadband, said. “Given the criticality of broadband for so many Kansans and the increasing digital divide, we as a community need to do more to remove barriers to robust broadband utilization. We are grateful for Governor Kelly’s leadership to ensure as many eligible Kansans as possible take advantage of the program.”
A household is eligible for the Emergency Broadband Program if one of its members:
- Qualifies for the Lifeline program;
- Receives benefits under the free and reduced-price school lunch program or the school breakfast program, including through the USDA Community Eligibility Provision, or did so in the 2019-2020 school year;
- Received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year;
- Experienced a substantial loss of income since February 29, 2020 and the household had a total income in 2020 below $99,000 for single filers and $198,000 for joint filers; or
- Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating providers’ existing low-income or COVID-19 program.
“The pandemic has demonstrated just how critical it is for every Kansas student to have access to affordable and reliable internet connection,” Dr. Randy Watson, commissioner of the Kansas State Department of Education, said. “We are grateful to the Governor for launching the Emergency Broadband Program to ensure equity in education is maintained.”