Millions of US families at risk of losing affordable internet

By Majesty 5 Min Read

Walter Prescher is a Methodist clergyman from rural Texas who volunteered three times in the Iraqi Army. Nine of his twelve grown children are still living at home. And when it expires at the end of May, he and 23 million other Americans may lose a vital government subsidy that keeps them connected to the internet. 

“That just gave us $50 a month to pay for the kids to do sports or band or whatever they wanted to do, so it helped out the budget,” Prescher stated to Fox News Digital.

Millions of low-income households are in danger of losing their $30 to $75 monthly Affordable Connectivity Programme (ACP) subsidies when financing expires at the end of May. Now, a group of bipartisan lawmakers is trying to give the program a helping hand. 

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Prescher stated that because of the sluggish internet speed with the prior affordable internet arrangement, it may take up to three hours for one of his older children to finish 10% of her homework. That amount of time was reduced to just 45 minutes because to ACP’s networking capabilities.

It was the biggest difference ever,” he remarked.

Millions of US families at risk of losing affordable internet

Prescher also assists people in registering for ACP by working with the Greater Houston-based group Easter Seals. Prescher added that ACP has enabled the people he has worked with directly—many of whom are fellow veterans—to return to school and retrain in employment skills, apply for jobs, and receive remote medical care.

The Affordable Connectivity Program has been critical for them to be able to afford [internet] as well as take part in online school, as well as apply for jobs online,” Prescher said. “And I work with a variety of people, but I do work with a lot of veterans. So telehealth is a critical element, especially for individuals with a variety of mental health issues. … That access to telehealth, them being able to interact with medical providers without being forced to leave … is absolutely critical.”

In an attempt to give legislators more time to restructure and enhance the programme, Rep. Yvette Clarke, D-N.Y., is leading a bipartisan push to convince Congress to take up the Affordable Connectivity Programme Extension Act, which would keep ACP sustainable through the end of this year.

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“I think for many who are economically burdened, this has been a literal lifeline,” Clarke stated. Anything has to give without the subsidies. Regretfully, even though it’s broadband, you still need to feed your family. You need to buy prescription drugs. You must make the trip. In each of these places, the cost of living has increased. It makes all the difference in the world to know that you could rely on that subsidies.”

24 Republicans, including Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, are supporting her measure together with 206 House Democrats. Fitzpatrick is leading the effort on behalf of Clarke.

“The world we live in is becoming more and more computerised. Access to broadband internet is now required rather than optional, according to Fitzpatrick.

He emphasised that a substantial portion of the more than 23 million ACP beneficiaries are veterans of the armed forces and urged more of his fellow Republicans to join him.

Fitzpatrick stated that almost a million veterans depend on the programme “to have access to their telehealth services,” adding that “many mental health patients, many veterans with PTSD, rely on this.”

That, then, is the plea I’m putting out to my Republican colleagues. This law is in favour of veterans. If we let this programme to expire, you have to consider the millions of veterans you would be leaving behind in terms of health care.”

He and Clarke both believed they could salvage the programme in time.

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