Letter: Congress must save internet discount program

Graphic by Lori Deaton

I’m doing the inflation two-step to make ends meet. With the Affordable Connectivity Program set to expire, Congress is stepping on our toes.

I know all about working hard for what you want in life. I spent the majority of my adult life as a proud Navy wife. I’ve owned and operated my own business. I’ve raised five kids. Now, I’m 75 years old and retired, supporting myself and my two grandkids. I have lived the American dream. For people like me on a fixed income, money has become one step forward, two steps back. Any extra money we get, prices go right up. Unbelievably, Congress is about to end a program lowering costs for millions of us, making life that much more expensive.

I grew up in a family with an entrepreneurial spirit. Like any entrepreneur, you have to find ways to keep costs down to keep your business running. The Affordable Connectivity Program is a discount, but for families. The ACP helps more than 900,000 families across North Carolina afford internet access. I rely on the internet to run my household — from paying bills, making appointments and ensuring my grandkids can do their homework. The internet is essential.

My daughter lives nearby, receiving cancer treatment — she also relies on the ACP for communicating with her hospital and staying in touch with us. If the ACP expires, she’ll lose access to the internet entirely, which really worries me. My computer-whiz grandson wants to get a college scholarship, and he’s kept up great grades because of his computer access. Without the internet, how can he apply to colleges? Some schools don’t even accept paper applications anymore!

I’m a registered independent, and I’ve been telling fellow churchgoers that we need to consider the representatives who are willing to let the ACP expire next time we vote. Not one elected official in North Carolina has co-sponsored the ACP Extension Act, even though it’s a bipartisan bill that was introduced months ago. They need to act and do the right thing. If not, what do they recommend as the alternative? What will people do without internet access?

Sen. Tillis and Sen. Budd and the other representatives are sitting on their hands and not taking action to save the ACP. They just don’t seem to care. Our elected officials don’t think twice about internet access and what losing the ACP means for nearly 10% of North Carolinians. I have news for our elected officials — retired working people on a fixed income like me don’t have extra money laying around. You’d have to be crazy to take away a program that’s saving people money — but that’s what our politicians are doing by letting the ACP expire.

We all care about affordable internet because it’s how we stay connected. This is about 23 million Americans across the country who save money each month. I’ve worked hard my entire life and, at 75, I’m still working hard to support my family. Congress needs to get serious and save the ACP. It’s their turn to work hard for us!

— Kathleen Wain
Bryson City

Editor’s note: Wain reports being a member of the nonprofit WorkMoney.


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32 thoughts on “Letter: Congress must save internet discount program

    • John Michael joint

      yesI pray that the government keeps the ACP internet discount program for kids and adults to have access to the internet.

    • Pamela

      Would lowing taxes mend the outcome of the necessity of the families needs of ones precious commodity?

  1. Bright

    Must they? They don’t have to. That’s more work than they’re used to doing…which is nothing.

  2. Elton Sanders

    We Need That Discount On The Internet We Are Barely Getting By Because We Get Paid Once A Month & We Need To Watch TV When We Would Like To We Need The ACP JESUS CHRIST🙏🙏🙏💯💯💯

  3. Dieselbut

    The internet is very imperative to the families that are on a low budgets

    • srs1932

      Student loan forgiveness, aid to Ukraine and Israel and money for border security can we not help income deficiency people afford internet? Students and the elderly need this for interaction.

  4. Wayne

    This is crazy it only hurts those that can’t afford high priced Internet service how m
    any people in rural area are going to suffer because of this

  5. Alan Risner

    He promised to get the last mile of internet done many years ago but has not gotten it done! I just wish he could keep a PROMISE!!!

  6. E free

    Well those Reps want to be Dems will never have my help getting reelected from me. “Traders”

  7. Angelic Lucas

    Congress has been doing nothing for low income. They have taken away emergency foodstamps in a time of high inflation. They cut people from Medicaid. Now they want to make it hard for low income to have access to the internet just like the internet providers who have made it unaffordable for 17% of the population. I figure if they cut everything else they will cut ACP to . So I’m just getting used to the fact that I might not have internet soon which is horrible I’m disabled and am barely able to pet for it now.

    • gapple

      Got to redirect those food stamps and other low income benefits to all the new democrat voters jo and his progressive leftist dems are letting cross illegally into the country.

  8. Debra May

    They don’t care that all of us will not be able to pay the price they make so much money and that is all they care about they don’t have the things to worry about like we do

  9. Heather Cochran

    My thought is I myself depend on the internet and phone and unfortunately being single and trying to maintain rent and utilities is a major struggle for me on the income that I bring home each week. I barely get by as is . Without the ACP I won’t be able to idle these things that isn’t just a want , it’s a need . If I had an emergency I can’t just run down the street to use a pay phone due to them no longer existing . And if I need to send in my hours I won’t be able to do so or if I need to file unemployment on times of layoffs then I’m screwed . So with the help of the ACP it keeps me above the water instead of sinking . So I hope y’all can help fight and keep this for individuals that need the program .

  10. April

    I am on a fixed income barely making ends meat now not having to pay for my internet has made it so much easier and I can pay my lights that has gone up and my car insurance and heat which that went up also I pray they don’t take our funding away for our free internet I won’t know what to do if they do… I pay all my bills on line

  11. Emma Daughtry

    Every politicians who does not work for the people of this country needs to be voted out of office because we pay them to work for us and any employee who does not work should be fired

  12. Gail Stinchcomb

    Please please keep the ACP millions of people are depending on it
    Being on a fixed income it’s very helpful
    And highly appreciated
    Take care of our own please

    • srs1932

      The funding initially made available for the ACP is running out. Without additional funding from Congress, April 2024 will be the last month that the ACP households will receive the full ACP discount, as they have received in prior months. ACP households may receive a partial discount in May 2024. Without additional funding from Congress, after May 2024 the ACP will end and ACP households will no longer receive the ACP benefit.

      What does wind-down mean for the ACP?

      Wind-down refers to steps the Commission is taking to provide information to ACP households on ways to keep their internet connection after the ACP has ended, and to stay informed about changes to their internet bill and service.

  13. Mylers Thompson

    To the Congress I will urge you the series think about not stopping the ACP program. This program have helped a lot of senior citizens that has a strict budget it has helped a lot of families low income families. If you stop the funding to this program a lot of people will be hurt because you know those that have control of the internet will boost up the prices and you know how important the internet is to low income families kids in school and senior citizens. So seriously asked you to look within your hearts and I’m pretty sure some of your family members are using this program as well understand you work for us and we’re asking you continue to work for us in a way to where it’s going to benefit us in every way thank you.

    • srs1932

      Student loan forgiveness, aid to Ukraine and Israel and money for border security can we not help income deficiency people afford internet? Students and the elderly need this for interaction.

  14. Darryl D. Davis

    Once again it seems as though our representatives, Sen. Tillis and Sen. Budd, among many others, do not seem to be listening to the people who have elected them. To get rid of a program such as the Affordable Connectivity program is paramount to cutting communication off for the elderly and the indignant in these United States. I often wonder if these politicians whom are receiving there government checks every month, along with there many perks, can even imagine what it is to go to the grocery and get four items and realizing once you get to the cashier that you don’t have enough money and having to choose, which item you have to put back! This scenario is an everyday experience for many in our communities. The internet today is an absolute must for every citizen and should be subsidized for those that are in need.

    • srs1932

      Student loan forgiveness, aid to Ukraine and Israel and money for border security can we not help income deficiency people afford internet? Students and the elderly need this for interaction.

  15. Robin Wise

    People in congress could care less about helping retired citizens who have worked their entire life. If they cared we’d have gotten more of a raise on our SS checks. I’m retired & still work because I have grandchildren to take care of. It takes my SS check & my check from work to pay my bills. Every senior should get free part B Medicare also, my check is under $900 a month after that comes out. I don’t get food stamps because I make to much money. Any & all families with children should get food for children free, it shouldn’t matter how much money a family makes, it cost so much to just survive. A member of Congress will never have to worry about anything like us average people do. They are paid great, probably get free healthcare for the whole family. They don’t have to wonder how will I get $40 more dollars a month for internet! We need it for grandchildren that’s how all their schoolwork is done now on chromebooks. My oldest geandchild is in college & does all her schoolwork through her laptop & has to have internet. Congressman don’t care, they don’t have to. If they only knew how people had to survive, but they don’t they never will know. It’s a sad world🤨

  16. Shantashia Burress

    Well I think they ACP needs to always stay but with a lower rate cs we all need some type of Internet even the one’s that is trying to stop it.

  17. Jacqueline

    I am on disability, cannot afford $120.00 a month for internet, and only have it on my phone. They gave all the money for rural areas to get internet(been waiting 15yrs) and now when it is finally available for a much lower price, I still wont be able to get it if the dont offer the acp.

    • srs1932

      Student loan forgiveness, aid to Ukraine and Israel and money for border security can we not help income deficiency people afford internet? Students and the elderly need this for interaction.

  18. gapple

    How about free internet for everyone? Can’t jo just sign an order and make it so? Just like his moving student loan debt from the ones who borrowed the money to the ones who didn’t?

  19. Nadja Brickle

    Internet is too expensive for everyone to pay for. My son needs the internet for school

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