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Going to have to revisit my budget: Chattanooga woman loses affordable internet access

struggling woman losing internet

‘Going to have to revisit my budget:’ Chattanooga woman loses affordable internet access

June 10, 2024

By HERE News

Federal Affordable Connectivity Program Ends

Millions of Americans, including residents of Chattanooga, Tennessee, this week lost access to affordable internet when the federal Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) ended due to the cessation of congressional funding. The ACP, which began in December 2021, boasted a huge subscription base of 23 million across the nation. Among those affected by the program’s termination is Edna Freeman, a Chattanooga resident.

“I was devastated and I was like… now I’m going to have to revisit my budget,” said Freeman. As a result of this development, she will now need to budget an extra $10 per month to cover her internet expenses. Although she plans on generating this additional income through blanket sales, she acknowledges that not everyone has the same ability.

A Significant Impact on Low-income Households

According to Sammy Lowdermilk, Program Director of Tech Goes Home, the loss of the ACP subsidy, which could halve a $60/month internet bill, is a hefty blow to families like Edna’s. Local mechanisms to bridge this digital divide included educational solutions like computer literacy classes, as led by Tech Goes Home Connectivity Ambassador Micah Chapman.

“It’s a shame that a lot of folks right now without internet, and for the past year or so, they had that essential service in their home,” says Chapman, who utilized the ACP in her work with the organization.

Call for Reinstatement

The reaction has thus been a strong push for the program to be reinstated, with Freeman herself reaching out to her congressional representative to campaign for its return. “It would be a good thing to revisit that connectivity program and bring it back to us, the people that really need it,” she said.

Possible Respite from Internet Service Providers

Although the ACP came to an end at the outset of June, several internet service providers, including AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon, have agreed to continue offering discounted plans to low-income households. The Enterprise Center advises those searching for affordable internet to explore these providers or similar options.

This report is brought to you by the HERE News Network. Keep updated with developments on this story and more by following us.

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