Louisiana residents to lose internet subsidies

LAFAYETTE, La. — More than 500,000 Louisiana households could lose government internet subsidies if Congress doesn’t approve more funding.

The program was launched in 2021 to help low-income families pay for their internet.

Households receiving SNAP, Medicaid, WIC, affordable housing and other government assistance can receive up to $30 per month for internet service.

Acadiana Broadband Vice President Dane Guidroz works with more than 1,000 customers in rural areas. He said customers were worried they would lose service.

“A lot of people don’t realize that $30 goes a long way, that’s a tank of gas, that’s day care, that’s something people need.”

Guidroz said many of his clients have said they would not be able to afford his services without ACP’s support.

“You see this a lot with seniors, low-income people, people living alone, people with a bunch of kids, and sadly, these kids need the internet more than anyone else today, and we work with them as much as we can Yes, but currently an ACP plan is necessary.

Adeyinka Ogynlengan, vice president of education and policy at Education Highway, said more than 23 million Americans are at risk of losing the program.

“We know that some families are able to use it to provide learning for students in K-12 schools, and parents are able to return to school, or are able to care for loved ones remotely because they now have an internet connection they can afford.”

There are 559,000 Louisiana households eligible for the Affordable Connectivity Program, including 29,000 veterans, 96,000 seniors and 213,000 households living below the federal poverty level.

Applications for the ACP program closed in February, and the FCC said April would be the last month of funding.

Internet costs average $30-$90 for basic plans, with a $30 surcharge helping families connect to essential services like online learning, telehealth services and staying connected with loved ones.

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