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Our View: put web access where needed

Our View: put web access where needed

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Families should

take advantage

of new vouchers

for web access

A cattle rancher hired a young fellow to help with many of the chores on the farm, and while the new laborer wasn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer, the rancher was pleased by the young man’s industrious work ethic.

After a while, he noticed that his cattle weren’t maintaining their weight.

He checked with his farmhand to determine how he’d been feeding them, and they went on a drive into the pasture so the young man could show him.

The farmhand pointed to an overflowing feeder in a pasture adjacent to the one that corralled the cattle.

“Son,” the rancher said, “you’ve gotta put the corn where the cows can get at it.”

State officials might be similarly puzzled about a $100 million program to increase internet usage among low-income families.

In August, the state’s Broadband Connectivity for Students program mailed 250,000 vouchers to low-income families to underwrite the cost of internet service during the pandemic.

Access to the internet is vital for many students for virtual learning, and the program, funded with federal CARES Act money, would provide $400 per family for internet service through December.

To date, only 44,000 of the vouchers have been redeemed.

It’s difficult to imagine that more than 80 percent of those offered the vouchers would pass on financial assistance for a service that would allow their children to participate in virtual learning rather than return to the classroom in a pandemic.

According to reports, the state is gearing up for a new round of vouchers. About 300,000 will be sent out this time, including to those households that didn’t redeem them in the first wave.

We urge voucher recipients to take advantage of the program, and redeem the vouchers for new or existing internet service.

It’s not a matter of being out of reach; access is literally in the mailbox.

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