A Retrospect of the Importance of PEG and News from the FCC

by Dave Garb, Legislative Committee Chair

Over the decades, PEG Television Channels have demonstrated their value to the communities they serve.  We  have been challenged over and over again to get our vital information out to our local viewing audiences, especially in times of crisis.   But there has never been anything more challenging than during the past pandemic.  It was the access stations that found ways to get their individual messages directly out to their communities.  

PEG channels were one of the few places viewers could go to watch Governor Murphy’s daily press briefings in their entirety, both live and “on demand.”   While it is not surprising to find PEG stations carrying this, there were many other ways PEG Channels helped the citizens in their communities.  With schools closed, and kids stuck at home, many stations tried to create programing to help parents entertain their kids while they worked from home.  This programming included the mayors of several towns reading books to kids to keep them entertained.  Other stations developed specialized programming around drawing and painting for kids stuck at home.  Several stations even created shows for kids with sing-a-long songs that both educated and entertained.

Many of our PEG Stations carried local high school sports so friends and family could watch their teams compete even though they couldn’t attend the games in person.  PEG stations covered graduations virtually to give families a chance to honor their seniors, when traditional celebrations were cancelled.

Clearly, the fight against Covid 19 was a stressful time for people throughout the state, and our PEG stations provided programming designed to ease that stress with programs of Yoga and Meditation.

The Jersey Access Group (JAG) is proud of how our members have responded to the challenges we faced due to this pandemic.  It’s clear that our PEG Television Channels have risen to the occasion to prove their true value to the communities they serve.

Straight from the FCC:

In August, the Federal Communications Commission adopted an Order creating the “Your Home, Your Internet” pilot program designed to raise awareness of the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) among households receiving federal housing assistance. The one-year pilot program will test the best methods for helping consumers receiving federal housing assistance through the Department of Housing and Urban Development learn about the Affordable Connectivity Program and enroll in the program.

“Broadband is a necessity for American households, yet many HUD-assisted families lack access to reliable, affordable, high-speed internet,” said HUD Secretary Marcia L. Fudge. “HUD is committed to ensuring that the people we serve have sufficient internet access for work, school, health care, and other needs. FCC’s new pilot program will make it easier for HUD-assisted families to access reliable and affordable high-speed internet, and I look forward to working with Chairwoman Rosenworcel and the Commission to get more families online.”

The “Your Home, Your Internet” pilot program features enhancements that are designed to help ease the application and enrollment process for federal housing assistance recipients. State and local housing authorities, Tribal Designated Housing Entities, and other state, regional, or local government entities, as well as community partners are eligible to apply for the pilot. Pilot program applicants will be able to submit proposals for specialized ACP outreach efforts, including promotional materials that are directed to federal housing assistance recipients and organizations. Pilot participants also are encouraged to propose application assistance tools which the Commission will evaluate. In addition, the Commission has set aside up to $10 million to support pilot-related activities. The Wireline Competition Bureau will provide more guidance on how to participate in the pilot program. The Affordable Connectivity Program provides a monthly discount of up to $30 per month (and up to $75 per month for households on qualifying Tribal lands) as well as a one-time $100 discount toward a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet. Under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, a household may qualify for the Affordable Connectivity Program if at least one member of the household meets the qualifications for participation in the Lifeline program. Households that receive federal housing assistance are eligible for Lifeline and the Affordable Connectivity Program.