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Choptank Fiber Increases Support for Customers in Need

Denton, Md – Choptank Fiber, a subsidiary of Choptank Electric Cooperative, has announced it will double the size of its financial support program for broadband fiber customers that qualify. 

“Everyone deserves access to the world made available through high quality internet,” explains Mike Malandro, Choptank’s President & CEO. “Choptank Fiber was created to bring that access to residents on the Eastern Shore. We have increased our support to $30 per month for those who are income-challenged to make sure they can get service when it becomes available.” 

The Low-Income Access Program (LIAP) was created when Choptank Fiber launched its service in 2021 to help many of the same members who need assistance paying their electric bills. In fact, anyone who qualifies for energy assistance automatically receives Choptank’s LIAP benefit on their broadband internet bill. Fiber customers not on Choptank’s electric lines can also get the discount if they have energy assistance with their electric provider.
“As an electric cooperative, it is our mission to serve members and help our community,” says Doug Scott, Chair of the Board at Choptank. “The LIAP program is modeled after energy assistance efforts that are funded through state and federal grants. In this case, Choptank Fiber, our broadband subsidiary, is directly funding the program.” 
The energy assistance programs provide a monthly support payment made directly to the member’s bill for individuals and families in financial need. Referrals to the program are often made by Choptank staff when talking to members who need assistance, but the qualification process is administered by the state Department of Housing and Community Development. 

“Using the same qualification process for both programs makes sense and streamlines the effort to get members connected,” explains Sarah Dahl, General Counsel and Vice President of Member Services. 

Choptank’s decision to double the size of the support payment was driven by the loss of federal and state benefits for broadband customers. The federal Affordable Connectively Program (ACP) and the Maryland Emergency Broadband Benefit (MEBB) ended in February due to lack of funding. 

“While efforts continue in Washington to resurrect the ACP, we here at Choptank want to be sure members don’t fall through the cracks and lose their vital broadband service,” adds Malandro. “It’s just what we do as a cooperative.”
To learn more about our LIAP program, visit www.choptankfiber.com/discounts. Anyone Interested in broadband service through Choptank Fiber may pre-register to be notified of service availability at www.choptankfiber.com.

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