Verizon pledges free Internet for six months as ACP dies

Verizon said it will offer a discount to its “Verizon Forward” subscribers that will effectively make their Internet services free during a six-month promotional period. The company’s offer arrives as the US government’s Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) appears headed for the cemetery. Although debate continues in Congress on whether to continue funding the program, it is scheduled to run out of cash next month. As that deadline looms, odds are falling that legislators will step in to save the program. “Funding for the Affordable Connectivity Program, which has helped nearly 23 million households across the nation connect to the internet, is expected to end soon. However, Verizon’s commitment to keeping families connected will continue,” Verizon wrote in a release.

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Millions of Low-Income Families Set to Lose Internet Subsidies

Phyllis Jackson, a retired administrative assistant in Monroeville, Pa., signed up for home internet service for the first time in about two decades early last year. She now regularly uses the internet to pay her bills online, buy clothes, find new recipes and learn about her medication. Ms. Jackson said she signed up for internet service after enrolling in a federal program that provided a monthly discount for low-income households. That program is set to run out of funding this spring, however, which will make it harder for Ms. Jackson and millions of other households to afford to stay connected to the internet.

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Millions of Americans could soon lose home internet access if lawmakers don’t act

Every week, Cynthia George connects with her granddaughter and great-grandson on video calls. The 71-year-old retiree reads the news on her MSN homepage and googles how to fight the bugs coming from her drain in Florida’s summer heat. She hunts for grocery deals on her Publix app so that her food stamps stretch just a little further. But the great-grandmother worries her critical lifeline to the outside world could soon be severed. In fact, she fears she might soon have to make a difficult choice: Buy enough food to feed herself — or pay her home internet bill.

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Internet access isn’t a luxury — it’s a ‘must have.’ This program is crucial | Opinion

“Reliable internet is a basic need for families today. In each of our careers, we have advocated for the critical need for equitable access to connectivity for all Kansas Citians, and we know that for thousands that access is made possible through government support programs. One of the most important of these is the Affordable Connectivity Program or ACP, which helps bridge the digital divide significantly. Launched during the pandemic, the ACP has provided in home internet access to more than 23 million households in the United States — including more than 400,000 in Missouri and 150,000 in Kansas — when people needed that connection most.”

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Erie veteran speaks on what vets stand to lose if Affordable Connectivity Program ends

“A pandemic-based program that helps veterans stay connected to family and friends as well as vital services is coming to an end. That’s because the program’s funding has dried up. Unless Congress acts quickly with more funding, the Affordable Connectivity Program will have to wind down operations. The FCC is warning if the Affordable Connectivity Program for veterans isn’t funded by Congress over 23 million households will lose valuable services. The program has provided free or discounted cell phone service, internet and cable connectivity to veterans throughout the country.”

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ACP Has Been Transformational for America

“Unless Congress acts, the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) is set to run out of funds by May. When that happens, millions of Americans could lose their internet access and access to critical services like healthcare, education, and job opportunities. Why it matters: To date, the program has helped connect over 23 million Americans, a significant step forward in the nation’s mission to close the digital divide. Recently, the FCC surveyed program participants to understand the program’s impact. The full report can be found here.”

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End of Affordable Connectivity Program could cut internet from low income Americans, advocates say 03

The Affordable Connectivity Program offers discounted internet access to over half a million households in Arizona. But this program could end in April, something advocates say would decimate low income residents’ internet access and affect commerce across the board. The ACP is a $14.2 billion federal program funded by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. Qualifying households can receive a monthly discount of up to $30 a month, or $75 dollars a month on tribal lands. Enrollment was frozen in February due to continuing funding concerns, and the program will end in April if not renewed by the federal government. “The ACP was created as part of the Infrastructure Act in December of 2021,” EducationSuperHighway Vice President of Government Affairs Adeyinka Ogunlegan said.

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Op-ed: How to close New York’s digital divide? Slashing red tape is a start

It’s hard to believe in this age of hyper-connectivity, but about half a million people living in New York City and its suburbs still lack access to high-speed broadband despite more than a decade of state and federal programs that have poured billions of dollars into closing the digital divide. It’s a jarring reminder that lack of online access isn’t just a rural issue, but one that strikes nearly at the center of a global hub synonymous with all things modern and high-tech. All told, roughly half of the state’s 1 million households who lack access or a subscription to home broadband services are on Long Island, the Mid-Hudson Valley and New York City, according to a 2021 report from state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli’s office.

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Opinion: If Congress doesn’t act now many Americans might lose broadband access

“The United States has lately gotten serious about broadband expansion, with the federal government spending tens of billions of dollars to deploy services all over the country — especially in rural areas, where coverage is sparse. But how widely connectivity is available matters little if consumers can’t afford it. And unless Congress acts fast, many won’t be able to. The Affordable Connectivity Program came into being under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021 after the coronavirus pandemic forced a huge portion of the population to work, learn and even socialize from computers at home. The benefit — $30 per month to households whose income falls under a certain poverty threshold or receive certain other federal benefits — has proved popular: Twenty-three million households — more than 1 in 6 nationwide — subscribe. More than two-thirds of respondents to an FCC survey of beneficiaries said they had inconsistent service beforehand or no service at all. And more than three-quarters say losing the benefit would disrupt their access.”

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Starks Pushes for ACP Renewal at INCOMPAS Summit

“The impending end of the Affordable Connectivity Program in April poses a significant threat to the families who rely on its benefits, said Federal Communications Commissioner Geoffrey Starks speaking at the 2024 INCOMPAS Policy Summit on Tuesday. Starks urgently called for the replenishment of funding for the ACP, highlighting its critical role in bridging the digital divide for millions of American households who struggle to maintain the cost of a monthly internet subscription, particularly those in low-income communities.”

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