Central Falls launches new program to close ‘digital divide’ for low-income families

Central Falls Mayor Maria Rivera speaks about new program offering free internet to low-income households, Friday, Oct. 7, 2022. (WLNE)

CENTRAL FALLS, R.I. (WLNE) — Central Falls launched a new program on Friday to close the city’s “digital divide.”

On Friday, Mayor Maria Rivera said the Central Falls Connect program provides eligible households with $30 per month towards internet service, making some plans free for city residents.

“From our students who need Wi-Fi at home for schoolwork to our many residents who need the internet to stay in touch with family members around the world, we’re ready to help more Central Falls households enroll in this great program,” said Rivera.

The initiative aims to build awareness about the $14 billion federal Affordable Connectivity Program, which helps low-income families afford internet.

“In Central Falls, where many families are low-income and more than two-thirds of city residents are Latino, there are currently 3,127 ACP-eligible households, with 1,214 of those households currently unconnected to the internet,” said the city, in a release Friday.

Households qualify with an income at or below 200% of the federal poverty guidelines or if any member of the household:

  • Participates in certain assistance programs, such as SNAP, Medicaid, Federal Public Housing Assistance, SSI, WIC, or Lifeline
  • Received a federal Pell Grant in the current award year
  • Received approval for benefits under the free and reduced-price school lunch program or the school breakfast program, including through the USDA Community Eligibility Provision, in the 2020-2021 or 2021-2022 school year
  • Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating provider’s existing low-income program
Categories: News, Rhode Island