Internet connectivity has become an essential resource

Posted 11/7/23

In today’s digital age, internet connectivity has become an essential resource on par with electricity...

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Internet connectivity has become an essential resource


In today’s digital age, internet connectivity has become an essential resource on par with electricity and clean water. Yet millions of Americans, especially in rural areas, continue to go without a connection either due to an inability to afford the cost of their monthly bill, or due to a lack of access to the necessary broadband infrastructure. It’s urgent that we overcome these barriers and deliver connectivity to rural communities that desperately need it, but concerningly, a key tool at enabling us to do this, the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), is quickly approaching running out of funds and expiring in the next few months.

If Congress doesn’t act to extend the ACP, it would not only threaten the connectivity of Floridians currently relying on the program, but would undoubtedly stunt future broadband expansion efforts.

Over 21 million American households are currently enrolled in the ACP and Florida is ranked 4th in the nation in enrollment, with almost 1.6 million households benefiting from the program. The ACP represents a vital lifeline for rural Americans who face unique challenges when it comes to getting online. Rural communities lag behind more urban areas when it comes to broadband infrastructure coverage, causing rural residents to suffer from higher costs and less availability. These disparities in connectivity for rural communities have a profound impact on education, healthcare, and economic opportunities, as remote work, online education, and telehealth services become increasingly essential.

The ACP doesn’t just help with reducing affordability barriers, it will also play a critical role in complementing the upcoming Broadband Equity Access and Deployment (BEAD) Program. The BEAD program is going to invest billions to finally ensure that every American, regardless of geographic location, has access to a broadband network that can connect them. These buildouts will be occurring in our nation’s rural, unserved communities, but studies have shown that without the ACP in place, the cost of subsidies needed to motivate providers to build out will sky rocket, threatening our ability to make sure the BEAD program’s funding reaches its maximum potential.

We need to make sure that rural Americans have the economic, educational and healthcare access that they deserve. Delivering high-speed internet to these communities is essential for that effort, and the ACP is perhaps the best tool we have for closing the digital divide. I urge our leaders in Congress to make sure that this pivotal program continues — far too many Americans, both right now and in the future, rely on the ACP’s existence.

internet, wifi, connection, connectivity, Terry Burroughs, ACP, Affordable Connectivity Program