Hochul announces $30 per month discount with internet connectivity program
ConnectALL Initiative aims to make high-speed internet more affordable for low-income families
Press Release, Gov. Kathy Hochul’s Office
Governor Kathy Hochul today announced a multi-agency initiative led by the New York State Department of Public Service to encourage eligible New Yorkers to sign up for the federal government’s Affordable Connectivity Program, a newly-launched program that provides discounts of up to $30 a month toward internet service for low-income families.
“The pandemic has shown us how access to reliable broadband is an essential lifeline to keep New Yorkers connected to loved ones and professional opportunities,” Governor Hochul said. “Internet connectivity for all New Yorkers, including low-income families, helps New Yorkers start a business, find a job, access healthcare, and communicate with loved ones. It is imperative we ensure there is high-speed, reliable broadband for all New Yorkers.”
The Department of Public Service, in coordination with other public-facing state agencies and Internet service providers, will lead a statewide, all-of-government awareness and marketing campaign under the Governor’s ConnectALL Initiative to increase enrollment among eligible New Yorkers.
The ConnectALL Initiative, announced on Jan. 5 as part of her State of the State address, is a transformational investment in New York’s communities and digital infrastructure. It will not only ensure available and accessible high-speed, reliable broadband for all New Yorkers, but also that New York will lead the 21st-century connected economy. This effort will not only involve government and community outreach, but work with the State’s largest broadband providers to reach eligible New Yorkers.
For too long, broadband has been out of reach for many New Yorkers because it is not affordable. In addition to reducing costs for consumers through capital investments, the Governor’s pioneering ConnectALL Initiative aims to ensure that every New Yorker eligible to participate in the Affordable Connectivity Program is equipped with the information and support they need to enroll and begin benefitting.
Broadband costs New Yorkers over $60 a month on average. In addition to the $30 a month assistance financially 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.
DPS will also encourage major broadband providers to promote the program and report on their plans as they develop, including Charter, Verizon and Altice, which collectively serve more than 95 percent of the state’s households, as well as wireless providers AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon.
Other New York State agencies involved in the broadband outreach initiative include the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, which will direct social services agencies to share outreach materials to clients, and the Office of Children and Family Services, which will promote the broadband subsidy through local departments of social services, childcare licensors, childcare providers, foster care and voluntary agencies.
Further, the Department of Labor will promote the subsidy through its statewide outreach channels, Homes and Community Renewal will reach out to property owners in its portfolio and provide them with program materials to post in common areas and distribute to their residents, the Department of Motor Vehicles is prepared to do a direct mail and email advertising campaign, and Empire State Development is prepared to leverage capital broadband grants and the regional councils to increase awareness and enrollment.
Recently, DPS launched New York’s first-ever in-depth statewide mapping study of broadband to identify the availability, reliability, and cost of high-speed broadband services across the State. The purpose of the study is to help determine what steps are needed to ensure that all of New York’s residential and commercial consumers have access to the internet, as needed. The study, due to be completed in May, will be used to ensure the federal broadband funds are targeted to where they are needed most.