Internet voucher program extended in Alabama

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 Students who qualified for an internet voucher program to receive free high-speed Internet through Dec. 31 will get to enjoy the benefit a bit longer.

Gov. Kay Ivey announced Monday that the voucher program has been extended through June 30, 2021. 

The extension of the voucher program is made possible due to President Donald Trump signing a Congressional relief package on Sunday, which extends the deadline for states to spend CARES Act funding, some of which was reserved for the voucher program.

“Alabama has led nationally with this innovative program via CARES Act funding to ensure that students can participate in distance-learning during the pandemic,” Ivey said. “I am extremely grateful for President Trump and Congress for including the funding extension, and, most of all, I am pleased that we will continue to offer this assistance to the families who are signed up for the program.” 

The ABC (Alabama Broadband Connectivity) voucher program provides vouchers for qualifying families to receive high-speed Internet, free of charge, in order for students to do virtual learning at home.

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey allocated $100 million of CARES Act funding to make way for the ABC program. Students in grades K-12 who receive free or reduced lunch are eligible for the economic incentive.

According to the Alabama Broadband Connectivity website, over 200,000 students have been served through the ABC program.

The ABC program is also helping the state determine which areas are underserved and lack Internet access altogether, in partnership with the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs. Alabama residents may visit https://abcstudents.org/ to test their Internet speed. Data will then be sent to the state to assist in determining Internet speeds throughout Alabama.

People with Internet access away from home can also report their home address as having no Internet access options.

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