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Some Tampa Bay parents struggle to get Internet service so kids can learn online

Better Call Behnken

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Some parents and teachers say they are worried about how low-income students, and students with parents who lost jobs, will do their school work without the internet.

Students in Tampa Bay started online learning this week, but not everyone has access to assignments left for them by their teachers.

Spectrum has stepped up to offer free internet service to families who don’t have it, but some parents complain to Better Call Behnken that they discovered they still can’t get it because they have old past-due balances. Also, parents who are existing customers but recently lost a job because of COVID-19 say don’t qualify either.

8 On Your Side’s Shannon Behnken reached out to Spectrum and a spokesman said to have parents call again, in hopes of working something out. But parents with large balances won’t get service. He added that existing customers who can’t pay bills won’t receive disconnect services or late fees during this time.

A Hillsborough County Schools spokeswoman said they encourage parents to use Spectrum’s now-free hot spots to get internet, and the district is providing laptops to kids who need them.

Meanwhile, if you still can’t get internet service or don’t have access because you live in a rural area, call your school to get a packet of paper work.

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