TNP and Oak Hill Collaborative Extend Broadband Program Access – Business Journal Daily

WARREN, Ohio – Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership and Oak Hill Collaborative have combined resources to help promote the federal emergency reimbursement program for broadband benefits to residents of the Warren area, the organizations said Monday.

Under the federal program, qualifying low-income families will receive up to $ 50 off per month on their Internet bill. For many, this can translate to free internet service, the organizations said.

“The Collaborative had previously promoted the program at Youngstown along with low-cost refurbished computers and free computer classes,” said Pat Kerrigan, executive director of the Oak Hill Collaborative. “This effort will help bridge the digital divide in Warren as it provides a more affordable and fairer Internet for our residents.”

Steve Kristan, broadband coordinator for the Eastgate Regional Council of Governments, explains that the goal is threefold: to promote accessibility, adoption and affordability of Internet services.

“Youngstown is the second least connected city in Ohio and Warren is the fifth least connected,” says Kristan. “We need to change that.”

Eastgate sponsored a feasibility study in June that contained several recommendations on how to improve broadband usage in the region, Kristan says. One of those recommendations was to initiate outreach and outreach efforts at the local level to educate area residents and promote broadband adoption.

Oak Hill, for example, is working in Youngstown to educate neighborhoods about programs that can help bridge the digital divide, Kristan says. “They want to do the same to Warren,” he said.

The Emergency Broadband Benefit program helps potential users address affordability issues, which in turn paves the way for adoption, he says.

This is especially critical today, as many employees use high-speed internet service to work from home, residents use it for health care information, and students rely more than ever on fast and reliable networks. , explains Kristan.

As part of its Digital Advantage initiative, representatives from the Collaborative will be on hand at designated days and locations in Warren to explain the program and help residents navigate through the two-step registration process, Kerrigan said. . This includes helping residents complete online forms and selecting an Internet service provider.

For families who need a computer, refurbished computers are available at affordable prices.

“We strive every day to help the neediest families in our community,” says Lisa Ramsey, deputy director of the Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership. “Digital inclusion efforts like this are essential in today’s society, where it is increasingly difficult to access education, healthcare or employment opportunities without access. to a computer and the Internet. “

Free basic computer training, installation / configuration and troubleshooting will also be available. Specific days and locations for EBB registration will be announced later this month.

For more information, please contact Oak Hill Collaborative at 330 406 0731.

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Copyright 2021 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.

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