Gov. Kay Ivey on Monday announced the extension of a statewide program that uses CARES Act funds to provide vouchers for internet service for low-income families with school-aged children.
Ivey’s office in a Monday press release said the Alabama Broadband Connectivity for Students program will continue into 2021, made possible by a provision in the latest COVID-19 relief package, passed by Congress on Friday and signed into law by President Donald Trump late Sunday.
The ABC program which has provided high-speed internet for about 200,000 Alabama students and was set to end on the original CARES Act spending deadline of Dec. 30, according to the release. The latest round of COVID-19 aid extended that deadline for another year.
“Alabama has led nationally with this innovative program via CARES Act funding to ensure that students can participate in distance-learning during the pandemic,” Ivey said in a statement. “I am extremely grateful to President Trump and Congress for including the funding extension, and most of all, I am pleased that we will continue to offer this assistance to the families who are signed up for the program. My hope is that this extension is welcome news for both parents and students during an unusual and difficult school year.”
Trump last week threatened to not sign the COVID-19 aid package or the omnibus spending bill, saying he wanted the $600 in direct payments to individuals bumped up to $2,000. That could have resulted in a government shutdown, which would have likely resulted in an estimated 14 million unemployed Americans losing their benefits and would have let a moratorium on evictions expire.
Updated information for current participants in the ABC program is to be posted soon to the program’s website.