Broadband internet has become a necessity for Americans to stay connected, but almost 1 million Michigan residents do not have access or face significant barriers to high-speed service. The Communications Workers of America and Microsoft recently launched Get Connected, an initiative to boost enrollment in the Affordable Connectivity Program, providing monthly discounts for eligible customers.
The program's cross-country tour will be in Detroit on Friday to host a resource fair.
Misty Robertson, broadband director for the Communications Workers of America, said the program subsidizes internet service for families with limited resources.
"The Affordable Connectivity Program helps folks that are on things like WIC, Social Security Disability, getting Pell Grants, living in a housing authority, or collecting SNAP benefits with their internet cost," Robertson said. "It helps them by giving a $30 monthly discount off their internet bill."
Robertson pointed out funding for the broadband expansion comes from the bipartisan infrastructure law, which provides a $65 billion investment to bring affordable, high-speed internet to all communities across the United States. The Detroit event is set from 1-5 p.m. Friday at 3905 Saint Antoine St.
The event is co-sponsored by the Communications Workers of America and Microsoft, a which came out of a labor agreement reached in June. Both groups believe internet services are essential, and they promote digital equity, inclusion, and affordability.
DeAndre Davis, vice president of the Communications Workers of America Local 4100 in Detroit, said they are joining with other community agencies to get people connected.
"We've partnered up with the Detroit Housing Commission," Davis said. "Detroit Housing Commission is already doing events every Friday where they're providing all kinds of services for the residents. We have volunteers out signing people up for affordable connectivity right there on the spot."
He says the organizations are also partnering with the nonprofit EveryoneOn, which will be on-site to help sign folks up for the Affordable Connectivity Program.