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Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News) - The Rochester Public Library has announced plans to distribute 1000 wifi-equipped Chromebooks to residents who do not have a way to connect to broadband internet.

The program is being funded through $619,000 awarded to the Rochester Public Library through the Emergency Connectivity Fund Program operated by the Federal Communications Commission. According to a news release, federal officials say the goal of the program is to help "close the digital divide by making sure individuals have adequate broadband access."

(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

Rochester Public Library Director Audrey Betcher says RPL will be partnering with local organizations to distribute the devices to those in need.

“We are leveraging the expertise of our local non-profits, government colleagues, and schools to make sure we reach individuals with already-identified needs,” explains Betcher, adding, “We expect the demand to be high for these devices, and by leveraging our partnerships we can be more efficient in rolling out the program.”

Betcher says non-profit groups serving "under-resourced residents" in Olmsted County interested in participating in the program should contact the library. Nationwide, more than $1.2 billion has been awarded to libraries, schools, and other organizations through the first wave of federal funding for the program.

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