Millions at Risk of Losing Affordable Access to Internet

Millions at Risk of Losing Affordable Access to Internet

( – According to a January 8 warning from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), without more financing from Congress, the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), which offers internet access subsidies to many American homes, would have to be wound down.

Internet connectivity is crucial for the efficient operation of Walter Prescher’s family, since he is a father of ten children at home. The veteran’s eligibility for the ACP was based on his military service and disability. Through an FCC program, his family gets $30 per month to help pay for internet access.

There are just a few months left until the benefit is turned off and the internet goes dark for US homes that depend on it, since funds are projected to be exhausted by May. If Congress wants to keep the ACP running until year’s end, they’ll have to approve funding for another $6 billion, according to the FCC.

If Congress does not approve new funds for the program in the coming months, Prescher and his family will try to reorganize their finances to cover the $30 gap. However, he is concerned that countless other households may have a harder time doing the same.

There is no way to know for sure how many people will have their internet shut off if the benefit is no longer available. Some of the 1,700 providers of internet service may decide to end that service if that happens, according to the FCC. However, due to the increasing demand for the program, it believes the figure will most certainly be upwards of millions.

Lawmakers have voiced their concerns about the possibility of abuse and waste of the subsidy, pointing to a January study by the Government Accountability Office that said the FCC program didn’t have an anti-fraud plan. According to the GAO, the agency has since taken measures to reduce the likelihood of fraud.

The long-term financial and educational consequences of removing this program and abandoning the families on it, according to Prescher, will be too much for the nation to bear.

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