Internet Access Support Program
Assistance Provided Through the Internet Access Fund
Households Enrolled to Date
What is the IASP?
In 2020, we launched the Internet Access Support Program (IASP) to provide direct financial assistance to families affected by COVID-19, and help subsidize the cost of broadband access. The IASP grew out of KCDD’s role in helping administer Johnson County’s Digital Equity Strike Force, established to deliver CARES Act funding for digital inclusion. KCDD is the backbone organization that led the Strike Force implementation plan, including: a) assembling a contract staff of 13 to develop and implement the program; b) marketing the program; c) creating a case management system; d) providing high-touch customer service; e) creating an institutional process to connect qualified clients at scale from other community organizations; f) developing and implementing a communications strategy to reach the unconnected g) establishing a novel and secure payment arrangement through Commerce Bank in compliance with CARES Act requirements; h) preserving client choice in the Internet Service Provider (ISP) marketplace; and i) ensuring funds were being spent appropriately.
Families began enrolling in November 2020, and the entire Johnson County allocation ($600,000 for Johnson County residents) was assigned to families by the December 30 CARES Act deadline. KCDD simultaneously administered the internet support funds from the Recovery Fund ($250,000 in total available to any metro resident), where almost 1,100 individuals and families from across the metro have been enrolled in the program since November, supported by these two funding sources.
To enroll in the program, families may use the program web portal or call the telephone number listed there to apply. Navigators/case managers determine whether families meet the income guidelines and otherwise qualify for assistance, and determine whether families are looking for new affordable service, trying to pay off an old balance, or trying to get caught up on their current service. Qualified families are eligible for up to $225 in arrears payments, and up to $75/month for their monthly internet service going forward. Eligibility ends after six months and cannot be accessed more than once in a year.
How the IASP Helps People Get Connected
Good, high-speed internet access is more important now than ever for work, school, or just to stay in touch with friends and family, but for many it can be difficult to afford. Never before have there been as many options available to help households get connected and pay for their internet bill. The Internet Access Support Program can explain these options and walk individuals through the process to apply.
This program is open to people who live in the greater KC region. It can help people of all ages:
- Find affordable internet service in your area
- Pay for your monthly internet bill, get caught up on your internet service bill, or pay off an old balance preventing you from signing up for service
- Sign up for federal benefit programs like Lifeline or the Affordable Connectivity Program program
- Understand your monthly internet bill and how you may be able to save money by cord cutting or changing internet plans
- Refer you to other community partners that can help you find affordable devices, sign up for digital skills classes, or access other resources in basic digital or internet usage skills
Assistance through this program is primarily intended for households with limited incomes and particularly those who suffered a loss of income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. As such, some sources of support may only be available to those who meet certain income limits. However, even for households who do not qualify for direct benefits and subsidies, IASP may be able to help individuals better understand their internet bills and discover ways of lowering their costs through negotiation, cord cutting, or other strategies.