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Many San Joaquin Valley Households Eligible for Low-Cost Internet and Free Chromebooks

Family Online

The San Joaquin Valley Regional Broadband Consortium (SJVRBC) is continuing efforts to close the digital divide by expanding outreach in rural communities, and working with partner organizations to offer sign-up incentives. SJVRBC is connecting households with low-cost internet options from providers such as AT&T, Charter Communications, Comcast, Frontier Communications and others – and many households are even eligible to receive a free Chromebook upon subscribing for service.

“Many new clients don’t even realize that they qualify for reduced-rate internet,” said Alma Camacho, who helps operate the SJVRBC Call Center at OCED. “But the fact is that many households with children attending schools participating in the National School Lunch Program are eligible for low-cost internet programs, as well as seniors and low-income households.”

Camacho points to research demonstrating that 53% of parents with digital know-how are more actively involved in their children’s academic progress than those without these skills. She further says that there is an 84% increase in higher education attainment for households with digital access than those without. OCED’s partnership with the California Emerging Technology Fund (CETF) is working to close the gap, and provide tools for families to get connected.

As for the promotional offer of a free Chromebook, program participants must reside in an eligible zip code and enroll in a low-cost month-to-month plan through Frontier Communications. Frontier, an internet service provider known for its work in rural areas, announced in early 2018 plans to expand services and upgrade older networks to reach rural communities in the San Joaquin Valley. The improvements were funded by Federal Communications Commission Connect America Funding and company investment. Households in the following communities that register for low-cost internet service through Frontier may qualify for a free Chromebook through this program: California City, Cressey, Dos Palos, Dunlap, Fowler, Edwards, Exeter, Lake Isabella, Lathrop, Linden, Lindsay, Livingston, Manteca, Onyx, Patterson, Reedley, Ridgecrest, Ripon, Sanger and Taft.

For more information on low-cost internet services and the Frontier Communications Chromebook promotion, call the SJVRBC Call Center at (559) 278-0702.

The San Joaquin Valley Regional Broadband Consortium is an initiative of the California Partnership for the San Joaquin Valley and is administered by OCED. It is dedicated to accessibility and adoption of broadband within the region.