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Mid-South organization works to bridge the technology gap, help Memphians get Wi-Fi

The Affordable Connectivity Program provides lower-income families savings for home online access and a better quality of life.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. —

Internet access is no longer just a luxury you can go without now, for many, it’s a necessity they must live with.

Memphis A. Philip Randolph Institute hosting a community Affordable Connectivity Program pop-up on Saturday.

"Do their work, schoolwork, and activities on it," one attendee said referring to her grandchildren. 

One grandmother says this is the greatest benefit of her grandchildren’s new access to Wi-Fi and it’s another step in local efforts to bridge the digital divide.

“It’s a lot of people in urban and rural areas who don’t have access to affordable internet, so we just want to make sure that everybody has access,” Victoria Terry, the campaign organizer, said.    

Memphis mayor Jim Strickland said an estimated 20% of Memphians don't have any internet access.

This "digital divide" across the state of Tennessee, advocates say, is due to a lack of internet infrastructure in more rural areas. 

For many here in the Mid-South and in urban areas like Memphis, the relatively high cost of broadband is what makes the service unaffordable and out of reach.

Victoria Terry said along with extending access, there needs to be an increase in broadband literacy. 

This literacy starts with providing access equitably and affordable to some of the most disenfranchised, providing lower-income families savings for home Wi-Fi access and a better quality of life.

“So we just want to make sure that everybody has access because when people don’t have access, they miss out on job searches; being able to register to vote and several other inconveniences," Terry said. 

To find out if you're eligible or for more information about the program, call 877-789-9889 or click here.

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