[Excerpt from New Haven Register article by Elizabeth Moore, 10/5/23]
NEW HAVEN — The COVID-19 pandemic put a spotlight on a digital divide in New Haven, but the divide existed before then — and it continues to exist. Now, New Haven will provide more tools to help close that divide with a $250,000 federal grant.
A partnership between the New Haven Free Public Library, Elm City Communities and CfAL for Digital Inclusion will allow CfAL, a local technology education nonprofit, to hire four part-time staff who will conduct outreach and help people sign up for the Affordable Connectivity Program. The ACP is a federally funded program that gives eligible households up to $30 a month to put toward internet services and a one-time discount of $100 to put toward a laptop, desktop computer or tablet if they contribute $10-$50 to the purchase. [....]
New Haven Economic Development Officer Dean Mack said the city saw an internet access problem during the pandemic, when in partnership with DataHaven they surveyed 500 families in the public school system and 70 percent said their children were having trouble accessing online learning because of unreliable or nonexistent internet access.
Mack said more than 11,000 people in New Haven have signed up for the reduced-cost broadband program, and 14,000 qualify but have not yet signed up. He said he is excited to work with partners who are experts in digital inclusion and equity. [....]