As a lifelong North Carolinian, I’ve been blessed to raise my family and two grandchildren in the Tar Heel State. Now that I’m retired, I live on a fixed income. People mistakenly think that Social Security is providing you with a lot of money, but with inflation and the rising cost of goods and services it’s often hard to make ends meet. That’s why I’m thankful for the Affordable Connectivity Program.
The ACP gives households a $30 per month discount on their internet bill and a one time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer or tablet. The ACP helps me cover the cost of my phone, which is a necessity. I have been getting the discount for almost a year now and it has helped so much.Without the ACP, I would have to spend $52 dollars a month for internet access. Now, I only spend $22 — that $30 dollars of savings goes a long way. If I didn’t sign up for the ACP program, I wouldn’t be able to afford a phone. Having a phone means I can stay connected to my family — my children and grandchildren — and I can stay on top of my health care with calls to my doctor. These are not extravagant things, but a necessity for the times we live in.Almost everything you do has to involve your phone or the internet these days. Most businesses allow you to talk to an agent or pay your bill online, which requires an internet connection. For a lot of people like me, we couldn’t afford to do either without the ACP.
This $30 per month means a lot to a person like me. Groceries are costing more. The light and water bills have also been difficult to manage. In the winter, bills are even more. My heating bill runs about $120 each month. The money I’m saving means it’s a little easier to keep the lights on, heat in the house, and a few more groceries to feed my family.
The ACP is going to expire in April 2024 if Congress fails to act. More than 870,000 North Carolinians use the ACP. Sen. Thom Tillis says he supports the program. It’s great to finally have Republicans and Democrats agree on an important cost-saving program that benefits all Americans. No matter what your politics are, or where you live, even if you don’t use the ACP, the benefits of the program are far reaching.The ACP helps people get jobs, see their doctors, talk to their families and save money when everything keeps getting more expensive. The ACP has helped expand service across North Carolina to parts where internet and cell service was bad or didn’t even exist before. If you think the ACP isn’t important, I’d encourage you to cancel your phone plan and go without it for a year.
Sen. Ted Budd hasn’t made his position on the ACP publicly known, but I hope he will support the program too. I don’t want to see the ACP fail because of partisan politics that don’t help anyone. This is an issue that can bring both parties together to do some good for everyone. Once again, they can start to work to accomplish some of the good things we need in this country.
I am personally so thankful for the help that I get. There are more people out there than just me who need it. There are a lot of us everyday Americans on a budget and we can’t afford to lose this program.
I’d like to ask our politicians — have you ever struggled in your life? If not, listen to people who are. I have high blood pressure already and stressing about whether I am able to keep my bills paid each month is something I wish I didn’t have to deal with.
I want to see our politicians working for us. Fighting to keep prices down and make life more affordable should be what every politician is thinking about and working on every day in Washington. Politicians need to understand they work for the American people. Keeping the ACP working is a great way to do just that.
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Doris Edwards lives in Burnsville and is a member of WorkMoney.
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