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Tucson Connected helps those struggling to get digital access on their own

New coalition aims on increasing access to affordable internet
Tucson Connected.JPG
Posted at 2:49 PM, Feb 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-28 16:56:25-05

TUCSON, Ariz. — When it comes to helping low-income households get online, Tucsonans have a new ally with Tucson Connected.

The newly announced partnership between public and private entities aims at promoting digital equality across Pima County.

"Tucson Connected is an opportunity for all of us to come together to address digital equity in our community," said Acting Pima County Administrator Jan Lesher. "Ensuring all residents, from school-aged children to older adults, have the technology and the capacity needed for civic and cultural participation, employment, lifelong learning and access to essential services is critical to the success of our region as a whole."

This opportunity stems from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, originally released as the $3.2B Emergency Broadband Benefit, which led to the $14.2B successor program.

"Nearly 30,000 local households are already enjoying the benefits of discounted high-speed internet," shared Cox Market Vice President Lisa Lovallo. "With the additional federal funding and the support of the community coalition, we’re eager to bring this program to more in our community and help address broadband adoption barriers."

Made up of public and and private entities, the group of local organizations works together aims at eliminating barriers lower-income communities have when using technology.

Current community coalition members include the City of Tucson, Pima County, Amphitheater School District, Big Brothers/Big Sister, Boys & Girls Clubs, Cox Communications, Earn to Learn, El Rio Health Center, Flowing Wells School District, Interfaith Community Services, La Frontera, Literacy Connects, Pima Council on Aging, St. Luke’s Home, San Miguel High School, Sunnyside School District Foundation, Tucson Children’s Museum, TUSD Educational Enrichment Foundation, United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona, Youth on Their Own and the YWCA Southern Arizona.

“In our increasingly digital world, broadband opens essential doors for communities and has been essential for staying connected to loved ones and vital services during the pandemic," added Tucson Housing and Community Development Director Liz Morales. "We know that households with lower incomes are more likely to struggle to afford home internet, which puts already distressed communities like our public housing residents at a significant disadvantage when it comes to education, business, and social opportunities."

If you are interested in affordable internet, please visit Tucson Connected's website.

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Caleb Fernández is a digital content producer for KGUN 9. Born and raised in Southern California, Caleb has always had an affinity for creative collaborations. After earning his bachelor's degree from Pennsylvania State University in Advertising/Public Relations, Caleb went straight to New York City where he learned the necessities of production assistance, photography and art direction. Share your story ideas and important issues with Caleb by emailing caleb.fernandez@kgun9.com or by connecting on LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter.