A new agreement led by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts will allow eight neighboring states and Washington, D.C., to offer Internet access, devices, and other technology to constituents through local agencies at a discounted rate via Verizon’s Digital Inclusion Program.

Under the agreement, state agencies or not-for-profit organizations in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington, D.C. can participate.

Verizon will provide access to wireless broadband data and voice services to underserved communities in participating communities, as well as turnkey connectivity, devices, and other solutions available to eligible families who lack access to the internet.

“During the pandemic, we worked with state and local governments to provide connectivity for students shifting to online education as quickly as possible,” said Jennifer Chronis, senior vice president, Verizon Public Sector, in a press release. “A significant digital divide persists, and our mission is to help narrow the connectivity gap by providing the easiest way for states and non-profits to get families online.”

This agreement came after the Georgia Department of Education signed its contract with the Verizon Digital Inclusion Program, which provided state agencies or not-for-profit organizations in 13 states: Georgia, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia wireless broadband data voice services to underserved communities.

The program makes connectivity for mobile hotspots, smartphones, laptops, and other selected equipment available to eligible recipients through state agencies, political subdivisions, and not-for-profit organizations. Eligible users of services in these states include those who participate in the National School Lunch Program, Pell Grant recipients or households with an income lower than 135% of the income designated by the Federal Poverty Guidelines.

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Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez is a MeriTalk State and Local Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.