Ending affordable internet is a gut punch to US prosperity

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The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) helps 23 million American households afford the internet. But on February 8, the program began winding down due to a lack of funding. New households no longer can enroll. Soon, current households will confront a choice between bill shock and disconnection. We cannot let this happen. The ACP is the most effective program we’ve had in helping low-income Americans get online and stay online. Indeed, it has been the most successful program ever in our decades-long bipartisan effort to solve the digital divide. But, without action, the ACP will sunset, and millions of Americans will lose access to affordable broadband. As soon as funding runs out, monthly internet bills for these low-income households will skyrocket, and I expect many of them will be unable to stay connected. Vulnerable families will be left to hope that their state can put together a plan to help, or else be reliant on the charity of internet service providers, who have little business reason to keep 23 million households connected for free without federal support. Closing the digital divide is about opening opportunities for all, including the millions of Americans who lack broadband because they can’t otherwise afford it. At this pivotal moment, we can’t turn back. We must continue to fund the ACP.

[Geoffrey Starks is a commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission]


FCC Commissioner: Ending affordable internet is a gut punch to US prosperity