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HOUSTON (KIAH) – A federal program called the “Emergency Broadband Benefit Program” that launched during the start of the pandemic, helped millions of many Americans with free internet access. It’s now called the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP).

According to Comcast, about 42 million people in the United States don’t have access to the internet. The goal of the new affordable connectivity program is to bridge the digital divide in households in the Greater Houston Area and across the country.

“I really didn’t realize how important it was to have this internet service until we didn’t have it,” said Jamila Byrd, a Houston resident.

Jamila Byrd is a mom who works part-time from home and learned about the Affordable Connectivity Program through her daughter’s school. Byrd says having free internet access at home is vital to getting her job done. Instead of spending hours at her local library with her kids.

“It saved us so much more time. We had so much more family time. They could go in and start their work. I could cook dinner and do my work,” said Byrd.

Families must qualify for the free service. Nicolas Jimenez, the Director of Government Affairs for Comcast says having WiFi is not a luxury. With more people working and learning from home, the internet is vital these days.

“I’m a parent. I know folks – you know whether you’re a parent or an older adult. You need the internet so you can access everything. Life-changing resources: education, work, healthcare,” said Jimenez.

This program is helping veterans, young kids, and people with disabilities who qualify for government benefits like food stamps or Medicaid.

“The program is a great program. And I think anybody that is eligible should apply and utilize it because any money that we can save and put into our household is great,” said Byrd.

Jimenez says the federal program has the resources to provide fours years of stable funding for Americans. To learn more and sign-up visit the Comcast website.

In addition to Comcast, there are other internet providers that offer federal funding through the Affordable Connectivity Program.