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Harris promotes lower-cost internet during Charlotte visit

VP Harris in Charlotte
Vice President Kamala Harris speaks about high-speed internet access during her visit to Charlotte.

This story was produced through a collaboration between WFAE and La Noticia. You can read it in Spanish at La Noticia. Puedes leer la nota en español en La Noticia.

Vice President Kamala Harris visited Charlotte today for the second time in eight months. High-speed internet access was at the top of her agenda.

During a visit to uptown’s Carole Hoefener Center, Harris promoted the Affordable Connectivity Program, an initiative aimed at lowering internet costs for users. The White House estimates around 30 million Americans lack broadband access.

“High-speed internet is not a luxury. It is a necessity,” Harris said. “Every person in our nation, no matter how much they earn, should be able to afford a high-speed internet plan.”

For those who qualify based on income, the plan provides a $30 monthly discount for high-speed internet. For tribal lands, the monthly discount is $75. The program also provides a one-time discount of up to $100 for the purchase of a laptop.

“About 13 million people are enrolled. And these are students who can now study at their kitchen table instead of in the parking lot of a local fast food restaurant, which is what so many of our students did,” Harris said.

Harris visit
Kayla Young/WFAE
Kayla Young/WFAE
Police guard the entrance at the Carole Hoefener Center during Vice President Kamala Harris's visit.

Part of the plan’s rollout includes “digital navigators,” like Charlotte resident Tiffany White, who joined Harris and Gov. Roy Cooper for a tour of the Carole Hoefener Center’s computer lab. White is a beneficiary of the plan and now as a “digital navigator,” she works to get other residents signed up.

“Being able to receive the ACP benefit has allowed me to work from home, like a lot of us do. It’s also allowed me to pay my bills, go to school, online bank and to have video conferencing with family and friends,” White said.

Harris said on-the-ground efforts are what will make the Affordable Connectivity Program work.

“The connectivity, if you will, between what we do in Washington D.C. and it hitting the streets in Charlotte are people like Miss Tiffany,” Harris said.

Harris noted the need for those living in rural parts of the country and budding entrepreneurs to have access to affordable internet services.

Learn more about the Get Internet program at this link.

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Kayla Young is a Report for America corps member covering issues involving race, equity, and immigration for WFAE and La Noticia, an independent Spanish-language news organization based in Charlotte. Major support for WFAE's Race & Equity Team comes from Novant Health and Wells Fargo.