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Clayton Co. to create digital equity plan providing underserved residents with high-speed Internet service

Clayton Co. to create digital equity plan providing underserved residents with high-speed Internet s
Clayton Co. to create digital equity plan providing underserved residents with high-speed Internet s 01:47

CLAYTON COUNTY, Ga. (WUPA) -- Thousands of people in the metro cannot afford high-speed Internet. Clayton County is creating a digital equity strategic plan to help address the issue by providing more access and affordability.

John Hawkins is among the thousands of people in the county without Internet access. While visiting the library in Jonesboro, he applied and was approved for the Affordable Connectivity Plan, which gives some low-income households a $30 monthly discount on Internet service.

"It sounded like a good idea to me.  It's a nice thing to do for the public," he said.

It's one of several services Clayton County is offering for Digital Inclusion Week.

"The Clayton County Board of Commissioners is so excited to be able to offer an opportunity to actually bridge the digital gap with citizens in the county, and how they're doing that is through the Office of Digital Equity," said Clayton County Communications Administrator Valerie Fuller.

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WUPA

The 2020 Census shows about 20% of the nearly 300,000 Clayton County residents do not have access to high-speed Internet, because either it's not available or they can't afford it.

"They're missing a great opportunity to be able to access information, opportunities, whether it's for a job, completing applications," Fuller said.

The county is launching a Digital Equity Strategic Plan to get grant funding for upgrading broadband infrastructure, creating more programs to help eligible households, and providing digital devices and technology skills training.

The Office of Digital Equity will also find ways to increase Internet access, implement digital literacy programs and create a scorecard tracking these efforts.

"Our goal is to make sure that the digital divide is decreased and that accessibility is increased," said Fuller.

They'll have several sign-up events and training sessions through Friday, October 7. For more information, click here: https://digitalequity.claytoncountyga.gov/

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