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In Northern New York, 59K Homes Could Lose Internet Access

Due to a lack of funding, the FCC recently froze enrollment in the Affordable Connectivity Program, announcing that it will only be fully funded through the month of April.

(TNS) — The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) is the nation's largest broadband affordability program currently helping 23 million households nationwide who are struggling to afford internet service needed for work, school, healthcare and more.

Due to a lack of funding, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently froze enrollment and announced that the program will only be fully funded through the month of April.

As of February, this year, almost 59,000 households in New York's 11 northern counties were enrolled in the program, which provides a discount of up to $30/month for internet service (or a discount up to $75/month on qualifying Tribal lands); and a one-time discount of up to $100 for a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet.

According to the FCC, two-thirds of ACP households had inconsistent or zero connectivity prior to enrolling in the program, and more than three-quarters of ACP households will experience service disruptions if the program ends.

AdkAction, a regional nonprofit dedicated to solving problems for people and nature in the Adirondacks, is urging individuals to send a letter to their lawmakers in support of the Affordable Connectivity Program. Working closely with residents across the region, AdkAction's Broadband for All project has witnessed firsthand the significant impact that the ACP has had in increasing equitable access to internet services.

"Extending the ACP beyond its current expiration date is essential to digital inclusion in the Adirondack Park," Sawyer Bailey, executive director of AdkAction, said.

"No one should have to choose between paying for broadband internet and buying food, filling prescriptions, or filling up their tank to drive to work. and yet, that's exactly what 'winding down' ACP will do. We have shared our sincere interest that the Affordable Connectivity Program is replenished and extended, and we hope others will join us in our commitment to broadband access."

"Access to broadband in rural areas is not a luxury, it's a lifeline to many residents in the North Country," Dave Wolff, chair of the AdkAction Broadband Committee, said.

"The Affordable Connectivity Program bridges more than just digital divides; it connects communities to possibilities, people to opportunities, and families to each other. It's about ensuring no one is left behind in our journey forward."

For 12 years, AdkAction has hosted a monthly conference call to discuss the status of broadband availability, adoption, and use in the North Country. This forum reaches over 160 participants from across the North Country (providers, elected officials, interested citizens), as well as people representing state and federal broadband related agencies, who exchange ideas, best practices, and lessons learned.

AdkAction is an active participant in the North Country Broadband Alliance, working collaboratively with many other public and private partners to advance our region's shared interest around broadband expansion, and to channel state and federal broadband support to the North Country.

More information about the ACP wind down, and templates for writing to lawmakers to voice support for the program, can be found at

© 2024 the Press-Republican (Plattsburgh, N.Y.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.