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FCC Stops Funding for Fast Internet, Low-Income Americans Might Pay More

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has terminated the subsidies for high-speed internet as the allocated funds have reached their expiration date. This decision may result in an increase in internet expenses for millions of low-income individuals across the United States.

The Affordable Connectivity Program assisted many poor families in America to get cheaper internet since 2022. Congress funded it only once, and support ended this month despite requests for more help. Affected users must check for remaining subsidies and choices nearby.

The Affordable Connectivity Program finished on Saturday because Congress didn’t continue funding. More than 20 million low-income Americans relied on the program to reduce their internet costs for 2.5 years.

The program gave discounts for internet service, up to $30 monthly (or $75 in tribal areas), with support from both sides. Some ISPs taking part made their basic service $30/month or boosted speeds of affordable plans. The main goal was to offer internet for $30/month at 100Mbps, the new broadband minimum by the FCC.

Republican lawmakers later criticized the program, saying many households in it already had internet. The FCC disagreed, saying 77% of the 23 million receiving funds would have to reduce or stop service without help.

In May 2024, the funding decreased to $14 per month. A proposed Act in January seeks to give more money temporarily to the Affordable Connectivity Program.

The FCC says stopping the ACP may make it harder for the BEAD Program to handle its finances. This $42 billion project is part of Biden’s plan to improve internet access, especially in rural areas.

The White House said some internet providers for 10 million eligible homes will offer cheap rates until 2024. Telecom companies giving discounts to new and current customers are:

  • Allo Fiber
  • Altafiber (and Hawaiian Telcom)
  • Astound Broadband
  • AT&T
  • Comcast
  • Cox
  • IdeaTek
  • Mediacom
  • MLGC
  • Optimum
  • Spectrum (Charter Communications)
  • Starry
  • Verizon
  • Vermont Telephone Company

Several other internet service providers, such as Xfinity, Human-I-T, and NetZero, have low-cost plans or financial assistance available. Certain households may also meet the requirements for Lifeline, a federal program that offers a $9.25 monthly discount.