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As Federal Connectivity Programs Sunset, Internet Access Remains Critical

Diverse: Issues In Higher Education

FCC’s Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) and Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF) provided internet discounts and tech support to low-income households, schools, and libraries. However, their closure in 2021 due to lack of funds impacts 23 million households, students, and workers relying on remote access. FCC suggests the Lifeline program as an alternative, but it doesn’t fully replace ACP. The closure affects remote learning flexibility and access to online resources, with 20% of U.S. households lacking internet access. Efforts like NCSC’s laptop loaner program and UNITE’s $2.1 million grant aim to bridge this digital divide.

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