Closing Detroit’s Digital Divide
45,000 Detroit families get connected through Emergency Internet program; City encourages more to apply
DETROIT – The City of Detroit is among the top two cities in America in getting its residents signed up for Emergency benefits to help them access the Internet, city officials announced today. Since the EBB313 program launched in May, more than 45,000 Detroit households are receiving $50 per month stipends to help pay their internet bill or access to internet-ready devices. That translates to more than $2 million in internet services every month going towards closing the digital divide in Detroit. Only the city of New Orleans has signed up more families.
“For many Detroiters, being connected to the Internet isn’t about access to entertainment; it’s about access to opportunity,” said Mayor Duggan. “These days, a child’s education or applying for a job depends on being able to complete online processes. Thanks to this funding provided by Congress and the work of our local partners, thousands of Detroit families can now access those opportunities.”
The Federal Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) is an FCC program designed to help families and households struggling to afford internet service during the COVID-19 pandemic. With the program expected to close at the end of this year, city officials are urging more Detroiters to take advantage of this opportunity. The city has led efforts to make Detroiters aware of the assistance program through the Connect 313 initiative, which was formed in 2020 to coordinate and support city-wide digital inclusion efforts with a data-driven, community-based philosophy.
Joshua Edmonds, Director of Digital Inclusion for the City of Detroit said, “Our partners at Human IT and Brilliant Detroit are doing great work to get Detroiters connected Internet bill assistance and technology, but we know there are more families that need this support. We encourage Detroiters to let their family and friends know about the program so they can get connected, as well.”
One of the many families helped by the EBB program is the Collins Family. Myleka Collins is a mother of five and says the $50 monthly benefit she receives from the program is a blessing and helps her children stay connected to school. “It’s helped us to have internet service in our household. It’s made our internet bill cheaper. I am currently not working, so being able to get a discount from EBB has been a tremendous financial help.”
Still time to sign up
The Emergency Broadband Benefit program is a $3.2 billion federal initiative to help lower the cost of high-speed internet for eligible households during the on-going COVID-19 pandemic. The program was created by Congress in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021.
The EBB program is slated to run at least through the end of 2021, so there is still time for Detroiters to sign up. The EBB is limited to one monthly service discount or one device discount per eligible household. You can get started and determine whether you are eligible by calling (313) 241-7618, or by visiting https://getemergencybroadband.org.
Partner organizations like Brilliant Detroit have been in the neighborhoods to help make residents aware of the program and help them get registered.
“The COVID-19 pandemic really brought home how critical it is for our Brilliant Detroit families to have reliable internet service and access to devices. We are thankful for the City of Detroit’s leadership in the EBB program. The City’s Digital Inclusion team has been incredible in making sure Detroit residents know if they qualify for this benefit,” said Cindy Eggleton, Co-Founder and CEO of Brilliant Detroit. “We love being a partner in these efforts and are doing all we can to make sure our residents take advantage of this program.”
Who is eligible?
Detroit households are eligible if one member of the household:
• Qualifies for the Lifeline program, including those who are on Medicaid or receive SNAP benefits
• Is approved for the free and reduced-price school lunch program or the school breakfast program
• Experienced a substantial loss of income since February 29, 2020, and the household had a total income in 2020 below $99,000 for single filers and $198,000 for joint filers
• Received a Federal Pell Grant in the current award year
• Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating internet service provider’s existing low income or COVID-19 program
Connect 313 is a collaborative social good initiative comprised of residents, corporations and community organizations all committed to empowering Detroiters with quality computers, reliable internet, and personalized technology support. Founding Connect 313 members include, the City of Detroit, Rocket Community Fund, Microsoft, and the United Way for Southeast Michigan. To join the Connect 313 movement check out www.connect313.org.
About Brilliant Detroit:
In 2015 Brilliant Detroit was created to provide a radically new approach to kindergarten readiness in neighborhoods. The idea was to create a unique delivery model in our approach to early childhood development by using underutilized housing stock to create early child and family centers in neighborhoods. Input was gathered and a model that is designed with, for, and by neighbors was built. Brilliant Detroit homes provide holistic services for kids 0-8 predicated on evidence-based programs around health, family support, and education. Brilliant Detroit was born to create kid success neighborhoods. Today, in each location, neighbors come together for fellowship, activities and learning to assure school readiness, and provide needed support for families. Here is a map of the Brilliant Detroit locations where you can go for help signing up for this program: Where We Are – Brilliant Detroit.
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45,000 Detroit families get connected through Emergency Internet program; City encourages more to apply – Detroit Police Department