The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), vital for millions, faces imminent funding depletion, posing a dire threat to internet accessibility across the nation. Initiated during the pandemic, this program provided crucial support to low-income households, offering up to $30 monthly discounts on internet bills. Now, with funds expected to run dry by May, individuals like Cindy Westman of Eureka, Illinois share with CNN their fears in the midst of the looming financial strain of affording internet services without ACP assistance, especially given her reliance on it for her daughter’s telehealth needs.

Indigenous Communities Particularly Vulnerable

Indigenous communities, already marginalized, are poised to bear the brunt of the ACP’s demise. According to CNN For individuals like Kelly Back of the Akwesasne Mohawk Nation, the program has been pivotal in expanding small businesses and preserving cultural heritage through online platforms. However, as ACP credits vanish, indigenous artisans face uncertain futures, with the loss of affordable internet access threatening their livelihoods. Moreover, tribal communities, often in remote areas with limited infrastructure, will suffer disproportionately, worsening existing disparities in internet connectivity.

Millions at Risk of Internet Disconnection Due to Looming Crisis and Funding Shortfall
Indigenous artisans use the internet to share heritage and boost businesses, highlighting online platforms’ role in cultural preservation and economic growth.

Calls for Legislative Action and Economic Consequences

With the ACP’s funding deadline drawing near, calls for legislative intervention grow louder. Despite bipartisan support for extending the program, congressional progress remains sluggish, leaving millions in limbo. President Joe Biden’s pleas to prioritize the issue underscore its critical nature in bridging the digital divide. However, without swift action, economic fallout looms large, as vulnerable populations grapple with increased financial burdens and heightened barriers to essential services. As communities brace for the potential loss of affordable internet, the need for congressional action becomes increasingly urgent.