Broadband assistance available through Affordable Connectivity program

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By Mary Jo Coulehan | Pagosa Springs Area Chamber of Commerce

As school is gearing up to reopen, as more people work from home full or part time and as we become more dependent on the Internet for just daily usage, families are finding that having access to the Internet is critical. 

The Colorado Broadband office through the Federal Communications Commission is offering a broadband assistance program to help connect families and households struggling to afford Internet service. How can you sign up for the program and who is eligible?

First off, what are the benefits? The program allows a $30/month discount for Internet service or $75/month discount for households on qualifying tribal lands. There is also a onetime discount of up to $100 for a laptop or desktop computer or tablet purchased through a participating provider. 

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

• Their household income is at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty guidelines. 

• They are participating in an assistance program such as SNAP, Medicaid, Public Housing Assistance, Veterans Pension, WIC, or SSI, the free or reduced-price school lunch program or school breakfast program, or they have received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year. Tribal members should participate in one of the tribe’s programs such as TANF, BIA General Assistance, Food Distribution or Tribal Head Start. 

Interested parties should go to www.affordableconnectivity.gov and submit an application. Then, they also need to contact their preferred provider to make sure the provider participates in the program and select and eligible plan so the discount may be applied to their bill. Some providers may also have an alternative application that will need to be completed. Eligible households must apply for both the program and contact the Internet provider. As an employer, please pass this information to your staff members.

We ask that you post this information in a break room or bulletin board for your staff to take advantage of. If employees can access this benefit, communication as an employer may 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 a month until ColorFest, have you purchased your Passport to Pagosa ticket, your Bands and Brews ticket or your Adventure Package raffle ticket? Passport tickets are going quickly and the reserved seating is almost sold out. 

We have some new and returning breweries this year highlighting their special quaffs at the Bands and Brews Festival. The live music for this event will see Lisa Saunders and the Caborado Band and Felix Peralta as the musical artists. Bob Hemenger will be the Friday night performer for the Passport to Pagosa. 

The Adventure Package Raffle is offering three great prizes this year: a Kona Lava mountain bike and a Red Paddle Co. stand-up paddle board complete with pump, carrying case and paddles will be the alternate prizes. The grand prize is a 2021 Polaris RZR and the towing trailer. 

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

Don’t miss your opportunity to win one of three great outdoor adventure prizes. The drawing for the prizes will be held at the Bands and Brews event on Sept. 17 at 7 p.m. 

You can’t win if you don’t play.