McAllen to Provide Program Offering Internet Access to Low-Income Families

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MCALLEN – Internet is more affordable for qualifying families in McAllen. A partnership between the city, school district and AT&T is taking up applications.

It seems like the younger children are the more adept they are with technology. McAllen Independent School District is aware of this.

They're using tablets in school. McAllen's mayor is pushing residents to keep up with the times, but not everyone can afford it.

McAllen Mayor Jim Darling said, "We identified about 8,000 homes that didn't have Wi-Fi. Probably about 12,000 kids don't have Wi-Fi. So, I said, okay. Let's start working on that."

Internet service can be expensive.

The city, McAllen ISD and AT&T partnered up to create an affordable option for families making measured sacrifices.

Cristina Gonzalez knows it all too well.

She said, "I had internet with AT&T for a while. I paid $70 or $40, but it came to a point of either buying shoes for your kids or keeping the internet.”

The program will allow qualifying families the ability to sign up for internet at prices starting at $5 a month.

On a budget like Gonzalez, that might work.

“Just one person work at minimum wage. He works in a restaurant. You know what they earn working there, $7.25 to $7.50 per hour for all six of us,” she said.

Gonzalez has already signed up for the program. The mayor hopes to have more sign up and qualify.

"So, now we think we can probably get about hopefully more than half of the people that don't have it on that system," says Darling.

It's an ongoing effort they see as an investment in the future.

Families must receive SNAP benefits and have no outstanding debt with AT&T.

People can sign up for the program by visiting the McAllen Public Library or the City of McAllen's homepage.

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