Emergency broadband benefit program in effect for qualifying households

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina’s state government is using federal COVID-19 relief dollars to purchase equipment so more public school students can access online classes and homework help.

Gov. Roy Cooper announced that nearly $40 million would go toward funding a new partnership involving his administration. The project, called NC Student Connect, is designed to improve reliable internet for children as they learn remotely this fall due to coronavirus restrictions.

About $30 million will go toward the purchase and distribution of 100,000 wireless high-speed hot spots for students, Cooper’s office said in a news release. Thousands of hot spots were getting shipped to school systems this week.

Another $8 million will provide free high-speed internet in public locations like parking lots so students can drop by to download class lessons. Other money will help instruct teachers, parents and students about remote learning techniques.

Several private-sector companies also have helped fund NC Student Connect, Cooper’s office said.

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