Advocates urge continuation of program making internet access more affordable

Tens of thousands of western Massachusetts families face losing internet access as a federal program is set to end. Advocates for digital equity gathered in Springfield on Wednesday to call for the continuation of the program.

“It’s going to be the difference between ‘Do I pay rent, do I pay for food, or do I pay for internet?’” said Renee Dingman, member of the Digital Equity Coalition at Way Finders.

Dingman and other members of the coalition shared why reduced cost internet is an essential tool. It’s a challenge that Way Finders, a housing stability organization, sees first-hand.

“Way Finders has been connected to this issue since the onset of the pandemic when it became so apparent that so many of our residents that we engaged with in person, we now had to go to Zoom and we started calling people and they’re like ‘What’s Zoom?’” said Beatrice Dewberry, director of community building and engagement at Way Finders.

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