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Post-ACP World: Why affordable internet options now?

Internet providers are scrambling to provide cheap internet options to the over 23 million Americans impacted by the end of ACP.


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  • The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) is nearing its funding limit, and internet providers are developing alternative plans.
  • Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are launching self-funded programs to maintain customer discounts.
  • Industry experts explore sustainable alternatives for continued broadband affordability.

As the ACP draws to a close, internet providers scramble to devise a viable solution for Americans most in need rather than lose those customers.

The ACP has been instrumental in providing up to $30 off internet service (up to $75 on tribal lands) for over 23 million Americans.

Read more: ACP funding crisis impacts 23 million low-income families

The upcoming funding shortfall will force most providers to recalibrate their support by May. Here are some examples:

  • AT&T: Access from AT&T offers 100 Mbps for $30/month.
  • Charter: Spectrum's Internet Assist provides 50 Mbps at $24.99/month.
  • Comcast: Internet Essentials service continues at $9.95/month, allowing customers to transfer their ACP benefits to eligible plans.
  • Life Wireless: The Lifeline Assistance Program ensures ongoing support for low-income families.
  • TDS: TDS Connect includes up to 200 Mbps at a discounted $30/month rate.
  • Verizon: Verizon Forward offers fiber, 5G, or LTE options at $0/month for the first 6 months (new customers) and rates as low as $20/month.
  • Fastwyre Broadband: Self-funded ACP benefits extension from May through August 2024.

Despite these changes, Congress still has bipartisan support for extending ACP funding by $7 billion.

My take: What's the solution to affordable internet?

The lack of cheap internet options is a problem that existed well before COVID-19 highlighted the digital divide.

So, why are ISPs just now giving low-income households a solution in the eleventh hour?

The answer seems clear to me - they are afraid of losing even more subscribers.

Consumers hold more power than big corporations would like you to think.

Competition drives affordability. Other options for internet access are starting to gain a foothold.

But until more alternatives become readily available, there are other areas of your budget where you can save.

Read more: Compare cell phone plans

Looking ahead, the continuation of affordable internet service will likely depend on a combination of innovative provider-driven solutions and renewed governmental support: public and private sectors working together for the greater good.

Stay tuned to for further updates on this developing story and practical advice on navigating changes to broadband affordability.

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