back to article FCC's Affordable Connectivity Program dangles by a financial thread

The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) warns it will start winding down the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) unless more funds are released to keep it going. Funds are expected to run out by May, meaning that only months remain before the plug is pulled on the benefit, and US households that rely on it are …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ah America. Land if the free. So long as you have enough money to line shareholders pockets.

    1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

      It is the land of the free. The rest are slaves.

  2. biddibiddibiddibiddi

    Just in time for me to (hopefully) get approved for Social Security Disability so that I would have possibly qualified for the ACP, after almost 2 years, 2 denials and a final hearing with a judge last week.

    But I'm sure all those ISPs will simply offer an equivalent discount to formerly-eligible customers and take the hit to their revenues because it's the right thing to do.

    1. blackcat Silver badge

      'because it's the right thing to do.'

      Sadly in the USA the right thing to do if you are a HUGE corporation is to lobby the govt for money cos giving a small % of your customers a discount would totally send you bankrupt!

      It is so sad that they have become so addicted to the govt gravy train especially as a lot of the internet providers run a near monopoly in particular areas.

  3. An_Old_Dog Silver badge

    Beware the Hook Beneath the Bait

    I don't know about the ACP, but I've seen the text of the signup agreement for one of the US's "free phone/tablet + comms service" programs. According to it, the subscriber get free connectivity until the funding is pulled (as it ineveitably will be). At that point, the impecunious subscriber is automatically rolled-over into a plan at the comm provider's current rates.

    1. biddibiddibiddibiddi

      Re: Beware the Hook Beneath the Bait

      Is that a pre-paid or post-paid plan at that point? Considering those free ones are not their standard plans, what plan do they put you on automatically? I'd assume their very lowest to be a close match to the free one, so it would at least be a small amount you might have to pay for one month and then cancel (if you can stand to lose that phone number at that point now that our lives are tied to them), although "small" is relative.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If only they'd pay to install the infrastructure...

    One of the big problems is simply lack of truly-competing ISPs. Where I am - a suburb, not rural! - my options are T-Mobile 5G-based ($50/month, "up to" 200 Mbps down but realistically 30 due to trees), CenturyLink DSL ($50/month, 10 Mbps max due to location), or Spectrum (something like $100+/month, supposedly faster but not reliable or honest*). We're less than 10 miles from a state capital, my town is 30,000+ residents. You'd think there would be better options.

    Fiber? Yes, I do need to take my Metamucil...

    * Had a co-worker get charged a late fee despite paying on-time. Every single month. Others getting charged $10/month for years for equipment that was $100 when new. Another co-worker says his Spectrum access cuts out several times a day, typically when he's working from home; he's looking into Verizon. Then there's cheating on speed tests...)

    1. biddibiddibiddibiddi

      Re: If only they'd pay to install the infrastructure...

      One reason I like my city is that I have 2 cable options plus AT&T fiber at somewhat reasonable prices, and the cable has always been reliable from both providers. (I've never actually had bad cable service anywhere I've lived. Rarely ever had anything more than an occasional brief outage during maintenance hours. Never anything less than the rated speeds.) I don't even consider DSL service options. And in a small part of the city, Comcast is even available as they were planning to expand into the city but stopped the buildout quickly for some reason and were allowed to just service whoever they could reach at that point.

      Spectrum's prices are about as expected for a big bad ISP that has a little competition. Download speeds can be high but until recently they have always simply refused to provide anything but 10Mbps upload speeds at any tier, even on business packages. The other provider is WOW! which bought out a city-owned cable ISP years ago, and their prices are a bit lower but they provide up to 50Mbps upload speeds (although they charge a $14 gateway/modem rental fee). And AT&T is surprisingly cheap. For a little bit more than the price of Spectrum's un-discounted non-promotional 500/10 cable service I can get symmetrical 1Gb fiber. And AT&T might suck but I just don't want to give Spectrum equal money for such horrible speed plans. (OOOOH, gigabit download with 50Mbps upload!)

      Unfortunately everything else about living in this city or surrounding cities is on the high end of cost. At some point in the next several months I'm going to have to move and I expect that when I find a place with affordable rent I'll also find that I have limited ISP options at higher prices.

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