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TEC Participates in Program to Provide Underserved Students Broadband Access

Troy Rutland

Cherokee, Alabama-- Governor Kay Ivey has announced a plan to help students afford internet access, and TEC, a leading provider of broadband for the region, is ready to support these efforts.

The Alabama Broadband Connectivity for Students program, or ABC for Students, sets aside $100 million in federal CARES Act money to cover the cost of internet service for eligible students. The funds will be distributed as vouchers to Alabama households with students who qualify for free or reduced-price school lunches. These vouchers will be arriving in mailboxes soon and will pay for broadband internet to the student’s home through December 30, 2020.

“We encourage all families that receive the voucher to contact us for internet connections immediately,” says Troy Rutland, TEC General Manager “We understand that during this difficult school year, access to broadband internet can be a game changer, opening the door to many possibilities. We want to assist families in our communities and help make the school year better, more convenient, and successful.”

The pandemic that abruptly ended the 2019-2020 school year has continued to destabilize communities and families. School districts across Alabama are adjusting with a mix of in-person and at-home learning, creating challenges for students and teachers alike.

“We’re proud to be part of this solution that has an immediate and long-lasting impact on Alabama families,” says Rutland.

In announcing the ABC for Students program, Gov. Ivey said, “Despite the upheavals in our lives during the past few months and at least into the near future, children must be able to continue their classroom instruction. This funding will expand internet access to allow more students to access distance learning while creating smaller classes in schools that provide those options and will also ensure their safety during the pandemic. While I respect those districts that have elected to use remote learning, I fear that a slide will come by keeping our kids at home. These funds will bridge the gap until all students can get back into the classroom as soon as possible.”