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Breaking the Digital Divide: The Affordable Connectivity Program by Joel Thayer and Diane Holland

Breaking the Digital Divide: The Affordable Connectivity Program by Joel Thayer and Diane Holland. Today, American families know that they need high-speed broadband if they’re going to stay connected. And our leaders know that a connected country is needed to keep America at the forefront of innovation, progress, and global leadership.

That’s why a bipartisan Congress created the Affordable Connectivity Program in 2021 — a program that is now responsible for providing more than 17 million households with affordable broadband. But funding for that program is running out, and there may be nothing left next year if Congress doesn’t act soon.

The Affordable Connectivity Program is overwhelmingly popular. A strong, bipartisan majority of voters (78 percent) support continuing the ACP, including 64 percent of Republicans, 70 percent of Independents, and 95 percent of Democrats. It’s popular among the working class (82 percent support) and retirees (84 percent support).

It’s popular in the urban core (81 percent support) and rural America (73 percent support). Ninety-seven percent of registered voters who think America is heading in the right direction support it — as do 70 percent of those who think America is on the wrong track.

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It’s not hard to see why. Every American family in every walk of life now recognizes the importance of broadband.

Table of Contents:

  • Introduction
  • Understanding the Affordable Connectivity Program
  • The Need for the Affordable Connectivity Program
  • The Impact of the Digital Divide
  • The Role of Connectivity in Education
  • The Role of Connectivity in Healthcare
  • The Role of Connectivity in Economic Growth
  • The Importance of Affordable Broadband
  • The Obstacles to Affordable Broadband Access
  • The Challenges for Rural Communities
  • The Role of Government in Bridging the Digital Divide
  • The Affordable Connectivity Program: A Solution for Bridging the Digital Divide
  • The Benefits of the Affordable Connectivity Program
  • Conclusion
  • FAQs

Introduction

In today’s world, the internet has become a fundamental part of our daily lives, allowing us to access information, communicate with others, and conduct business transactions. However, despite its widespread use, not everyone has equal access to the internet. In fact, many Americans lack the means to connect to the internet, creating a significant digital divide. This article will discuss the need for the Affordable Connectivity Program proposed by Joel Thayer and Diane Holland to bridge this digital divide.

Understanding the Affordable Connectivity Program

The Affordable Connectivity Program proposed by Joel Thayer and Diane Holland is a comprehensive plan designed to ensure that all Americans have affordable access to high-speed internet. The program aims to provide subsidies to low-income families and rural communities to make broadband more affordable, build out necessary infrastructure to support high-speed internet, and support innovative solutions to address the challenges of the digital divide.

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The Need for the Affordable Connectivity Program

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for reliable and affordable broadband access. With schools and businesses transitioning to remote operations, those without access to the internet have been left behind. The digital divide has become a significant barrier to education, healthcare, and economic growth. The Affordable Connectivity Program is needed to bridge this divide and ensure that all Americans have equal access to the internet.

What would it mean for ACP funding to expire?

So it’s worth asking: What would it mean if funding ran out? It would likely be regarded as a major policy failure at a time when Americans on both sides of the political aisle are struggling to regain their footing following the global pandemic and the physical and economic toll it has taken on us all. To drive this point home, Congress would be responsible for letting a program die that has proven to be a far more effective measure in connecting those on the wrong side of the digital divide to broadband in both rural and urban areas than its predecessors.

The inevitable outcome of extinguishing the Affordable Connectivity Program will be that millions of low-income households that have come to rely on broadband service will be cut off because they simply cannot afford it. That means telehealth would be out of reach for low-income veterans living in rural areas. That means newly connected families would lose their ability to remotely visit their relatives, study online or apply for a new job.

Moreover, access to broadband is now a key indicator of economic opportunity. As studies have consistently shown, a lack of broadband can perpetuate the cycle of poverty. This is especially true for those in traditional minority groups.

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The Impact of the Digital Divide

The digital divide has a significant impact on individuals and communities. Without access to the internet, students are unable to access educational resources, and adults are unable to access job opportunities. In rural communities, lack of internet access can result in decreased economic growth and reduced access to healthcare. The Affordable Connectivity Program aims to address these issues by providing affordable access to high-speed internet.

The Role of Connectivity in Education

Connectivity plays a crucial role in education. With the rise of online learning, students must have access to the internet to participate in remote classes and complete assignments. Without internet access, students are at a significant disadvantage, as they are unable to access educational resources, communicate with teachers, and collaborate with classmates. The Affordable Connectivity Program can ensure that all students have equal access to these essential resources.

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The Role of Connectivity in Healthcare

Access to high-speed internet is also critical for healthcare. Telehealth has become an essential tool for providing medical care during the pandemic, allowing patients to consult with doctors remotely. However, those without access to the internet are unable to take advantage of this service. The Affordable Connectivity Program can ensure that all individuals have access to telehealth services, improving access to medical care for all Americans.

The Role of Connectivity in Economic Growth

High-speed internet is essential for economic growth. Without access to the internet, businesses are unable to reach customers online, limiting their growth potential. In rural communities, lack of internet access can result in decreased economic growth, as businesses are unable to connect with suppliers and customers. The Affordable Connectivity Program can provide the necessary infrastructure to support high-speed internet in these communities, promoting economic growth and development.

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The Importance of Affordable Broadband

Affordable broadband is crucial to ensure that all Americans have access to high-speed internet. Without affordable broadband, many individuals and

communities are unable to afford the cost of internet service, leaving them behind in the digital age. The Affordable Connectivity Program aims to provide subsidies to low-income families and rural communities to make broadband more affordable, ensuring that all Americans have access to this essential resource.

The Obstacles to Affordable Broadband Access

Several obstacles prevent individuals and communities from accessing affordable broadband. For example, the cost of building broadband infrastructure in rural areas can be prohibitively expensive, making it challenging for internet service providers to offer service. Additionally, low-income families may struggle to afford the cost of internet service, preventing them from accessing this essential resource. The Affordable Connectivity Program aims to address these obstacles by providing funding and support for the development of broadband infrastructure and offering subsidies to low-income families.

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The Challenges for Rural Communities

Rural communities face significant challenges when it comes to accessing high-speed internet. Due to the cost of building broadband infrastructure, internet service providers are less likely to offer service in rural areas, leaving these communities without access to this essential resource. The Affordable Connectivity Program recognizes the challenges facing rural communities and aims to provide funding and support for the development of broadband infrastructure in these areas, ensuring that all Americans have access to high-speed internet.

The Role of Government in Bridging the Digital Divide

The government has a critical role to play in bridging the digital divide. The Affordable Connectivity Program proposed by Joel Thayer and Diane Holland recognizes this and proposes a comprehensive plan to provide support for the development of broadband infrastructure, offer subsidies to low-income families and rural communities, and promote innovative solutions to address the challenges of the digital divide.

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The Affordable Connectivity Program: A Solution for Bridging the Digital Divide

The Affordable Connectivity Program proposed by Joel Thayer and Diane Holland is a comprehensive plan to bridge the digital divide. The program recognizes the challenges facing low-income families and rural communities and proposes a range of solutions to address these challenges. By providing subsidies to low-income families and rural communities, promoting innovative solutions, and supporting the development of broadband infrastructure, the program can ensure that all Americans have equal access to high-speed internet.

The Benefits of the Affordable Connectivity Program

The Affordable Connectivity Program has several benefits for individuals and communities. By ensuring that all Americans have equal access to high-speed internet, the program can promote education, improve access to healthcare, and promote economic growth. Additionally, the program can reduce the cost of internet service for low-income families, ensuring that they have access to this essential resource.

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Conclusion

The digital divide is a significant barrier to education, healthcare, and economic growth. The Affordable Connectivity Program proposed by Joel Thayer and Diane Holland is a comprehensive plan to bridge this divide, providing support for the development of broadband infrastructure, offering subsidies to low-income families and rural communities, and promoting innovative solutions to address the challenges of the digital divide. By ensuring that all Americans have equal access to high-speed internet, the program can promote equity and ensure that no one is left behind in the digital age.

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