New Affordable Connectivity Program Created to Combat Internet Poverty in the United States of America
Written by: Teresa Gillian, FLP Independent Community Manager and Resident Copywriter
Edited by: Shatoyia Jones, FLP Founder, Wealth Building Educational Consultant; Business Development Specialist
Internet Poverty. Wow, I am mind blown. Who knew internet poverty was real in the USA? In a growing high-tech world, everyone should have and will surely need access to the internet now as well as in the future. I personally can attest to this. The pandemic boosted online shopping in necessities alone, from clothes to toilet paper. However, few companies gave thought about whether there would be anyone without internet access in this country. I myself am guilty of the assumption that the internet was accessible to everyone. Never would I have guessed that there weren't any people lacking a connection to the world when it was shut down.
Everything in the USA, in the world as a whole, is ever-evolving. The more research I did on the subject in partnership with First Ladies of Poverty Foundation, I had one major question: why doesn't everyone have high-speed internet service, and for some, more importantly a WiFi capable device? Many cannot afford the cost of high-speed internet service or the price of a smart device, in addition to the other daily costs of living.
The internet is now a necessity, not a luxury. -- Shatoyia Jones, Founder/CEO of First Ladies of Poverty Foundation
Small and big businesses have increasingly used the web to post jobs and recruit for jobs. Paychecks are being dispensed via direct deposits and digital wallets. Stores have become more "tech-savvy" by allowing you to tap your phone to pay as an alternative to cash with some stores planning to go fully digital as a means to keep things moving and "safe." Companies have caught on to the benefits of "working from home" and require a laptop and high-speed internet access, as well the education system. Imagine the impact of young age school children and college students.
In my quest to understand or get an answer as to why in the old good USA internet is null and void to many communities,--the majority being black and hispanic communities--I found the stats are higher for blacks and hispanics without in-home broadband, although a good perecentage have access to smartphones. The cost of internet service is expensive for lower incomes of 30,000 and less. 
“Due to the structural and infrastructural inequities, Blacks and Hispanics are 10 years behind whites in levels of broadband access,” the report’s author wrote. 
Internet service providers seek out areas based on economic-development as well as structural demographics. Environmental demographics also play an important role where access is provided. Broadband companies seek to accrue the most profit in exchange for the cost to provide, supply and lay ground for a community to have access to the service. The monthly cost for basic broadband service can be between $40 to $60, but it increases significantly in quality assurance (internet speed for example). 
There were a few online articles I read that referenced black and hispanic communities being at a significant disadvantage as the communities who lack the most when it comes to in-home high-speed internet service. If you are making 30,000 or below, it is not enough to be able to afford services such as in-home broadband. Accessibility varies from smartphone to in-home service to having both, but the majority of people have one or the other when it comes to the communities mentioned. 
Anyone who has both a smartphone and computer knows there is more you can accomplish on a computer, such as more storage, for example. Another example are computer processing speeds and features, such as being able to open multiple tabs at once and placing the open windows side by side, which makes it easier to get more done rather than having to minimize your tabs back and forth. In my own personal experience job hunting on the web, I found amongst the many job requirements is having a working computer and internet. I find it shocking that there is no internet in the homes due to the area where a person lives, and the reasoning being that the community is not thriving enough to be provided with internet. Ultimately, a company's profitability plays a major part in internet poverty, but the issue gets deeper than that.
Predominant black and hispanic communities are behind in internet accessibility--amongst other things-- and will continue to fall behind if they are not given the opportunity to keep up with the changing information technology. The pandemic was a major eye opener to how much internet access is necessary for us all.
How many were not able to apply for unemployment online? The lines being busy from sunup to sundown now makes me question: was it all the people who have no computer, tablet, or limited data phone plan?
How many children in these communities--statistics say black and hispanic--fell behind in their learning and social interactions due to the lack of high-speed internet and capable devices? How many communities could not find an alternative route to access employment opportunities, telehealth visits, run an online business (help afford the prices that keep going up), social interaction with friends and love ones afar, online classes or a certification (boosting knowledge, higher pay). [Lack of access to the daily COVID informational shifts was hectic all in itself].
How First Ladies of Poverty Foundation is Addressing the Issue
So, what's really going on? It sounds like it is all about corporate and political greed.
Here at First Ladies of Poverty Foundation, we agree on the importance of reducing poverty via equitable internet accessibility for all and launched the FLP Connectivity InfoTech Initiative.
First Ladies of Poverty Foundation, in partnership with major broadband services, is offering low cost tablets/phones and high-speed internet services through the new Lifeline Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). The ACP is designed to reduce internet poverty by offering affordable high-speed internet service so that as many people as possible are able to:
To learn more about First Ladies of Poverty Foundation's FLP Connectivity InfoTech Initiative and the ACP program, as well as see how you can qualify for free or low-cost unlimited high-speed internet service and an affordable smart device, sign up for an upcoming information session below and ask about our program and other resources we offer at First Ladies of Poverty Foundation.
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