Municipal Broadband Networks Deliver On Affordability Before And After ACP

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In a recently published piece in The American Prospect, Sean Gonsalves, ILSR's Community Broadband Networks Initiative Associate Director for Communications, reports on four cities across the U.S. that are well prepared to deal with the demise of the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP).  

The article – titled "The Municipal Broadband Solution" – begins by laying out why Congress created the popular program and how letting the ACP go bankrupt undermines the national "Internet For All" Initiative now underway. However, while digital equity advocates across the nation rightly lament the demise of the program, the focus of the article is on cities that have figured out how to deliver afforable high-quality Internet access even without the ACP.   

Here's a few excerpts:

Congress created the ACP to soften a harsh reality: Americans pay among the highest prices for broadband of any developed nation in the world, leaving tens of millions unable to afford internet service—something experts have long noted is a telltale sign of a broken market dominated by monopoly providers, and is at the very heart of why the U.S. digital divide is as massive as it is.

However, although federal lawmakers have known for over a year that the fund would be bankrupt by this spring, GOP congressional leaders have not budged on even bipartisan attempts to save the ACP, prompting the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to announce in January that the agency was being forced to wind down the popular program.

It’s a major setback for the “Internet for All” effort, especially in light of a recent FCC survey that found 29 percent of ACP beneficiaries would be left without any home internet service whatsoever without the benefit, in an age when internet connectivity is a necessity for meaningful participation in 21st-century society.

As ISPs have begun to send out notices alerting ACP recipients of the imminent end of the program, there’s a more hopeful story playing out in the background—one that demonstrates how some communities are in a far better position than others to handle the fallout.

You can read the entire story on the American Prospect website here.