HTC Connects Students to Free Internet via CARES Funding

HTC is connecting more than 400 families to free Internet service to support hybrid and virtual learning as students begin the new school year.

The COVID-19 pandemic has magnified the digital divide across South Carolina and beyond. A reliable internet connection is no longer a benefit to students, it’s a necessity.

The South Carolina Office of Regulatory Staff (ORS) has awarded HTC a vendor contract to provide wired internet service to students who fall within the state’s regulatory guidelines. Horry County Schools is responsible for qualifying households and placing orders through ORS.

The program, funded by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and appropriated by the South Carolina legislature, will allow HTC to provide connectivity to qualifying households through December 31, 2020.

Back in March, HTC worked with Horry County Schools to identify households that lacked internet access and connected 675 residences. Each of those homes received free internet service through the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. Under the state’s Online Learning Initiative, Horry County Schools evaluated each of those connections and maintained access for those who qualify.

The secured HTC educational circuit will restrict user access to educational platforms pre-approved by the school district. To be eligible, students must live in a household that does not currently have internet access and that has an annual income of 250% or less of federal poverty guidelines.

Parents who have questions about this program or their eligibility are asked to call Missy Johnson with Horry County Schools at 843-488-6993.

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