September 18, 2020
How you can get the connectivity you need.
But among all of these changes, one thing remains the same: not everyone has access to the technology they need to participate.
The digital divide remains a key societal issue. According to a recent report from Common Sense Media, 30 percent of students in the U.S. don’t have access to adequate internet access.
With the rise of the Coronavirus, the need for connectivity has never been more important. We can no longer get by without basic internet and the personal devices to access it. But the reality for many families is frustrating and all too common – “what if I can’t afford it?”
Contrary to what many people believe, there are affordable internet offerings available. Let’s explore the top four things to consider as you begin your search:
Look to Your Local Internet and TV Provider
While it might seem like internet is just too expensive, most internet service providers offer low-cost plans to help more people get online. For example, the Cox Connect2Compete program provides home wi-fi for as low as $9.95 per month to eligible families with a K-12 student in the home.
The first step to determine if a program like Connect2Compete is an option for your family is to see if you qualify – click here to find out.
Do you live in an area not yet serviced by Cox? Check out this new resource developed by the NCTA Internet and Television Association with education non-profit EducationSuperHighway (ESH) to help schools and families find affordable K-12 internet programs. “K-12 Bridge to Broadband” helps streamline the process for service providers and school districts, making it easy to identify unconnected, eligible households and provide internet plans to help them stay connected.
Check with Your Schools
Another great resource for finding low-cost internet offerings is with your child’s school. Through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act passed earlier this year, school districts across the country are subsidizing internet for families so that students and teachers have internet access at home in the age of remote learning and instruction. Cox is working with several school districts to subsidize thousands of teachers and students. Find out more here.
Discounted Devices are Available
Once you’ve tackled the connectivity hurdle, the next step is to make sure your family has the technology they need to productively learn and work from home. Personal devices like computers and tablets can be expensive to purchase brand-new, and might be out of your family’s budget. Thankfully, there are alternative options available. Cox works with PCs for People and Computers 2 Kids to arm Connect2Compete families with refurbished devices.
Additionally, many technology retailers – like Dell, Best Buy and Gazelle – offer used devices for a fraction of the cost of a new one. See if your local retailer has a refurbishment program. You may also be able to trade in some of your aging technology to reduce the cost.
Digital Literacy is Critical
Finally, now that you’re all set-up with home internet and personal tech, it’s time to maximize your service.
One of the most important things internet access provides your student is digital literacy. And, parents are now finding themselves in the driver’s seat as teachers these days, so these tools are fantastic resources for parents trying to enhance the digital learning experience. Here are some engaging, free learning resources:
· Common Sense Media’s Wide Open School
· The Boys and Girls Club of America’s MyFuture
· The James M. Cox Foundation’s Cox Campus
These resources and more can be found at Cox’s Digital Academy, where parents and teachers can access a wide variety of tools, all in one easy-to-navigate place.
In our digitally driven world, it’s important that you and your family can be connected without breaking the bank. By putting these tips into action, we are confident that you will be able to find a solution that works for you.