New Yorkers Scramble to Afford Internet Access as Federal Subsidy Program Ends

Jordan Borges looks at his internet bill. He Is three months behind. (Credit: Fahima Degia)

Jordan Borges looks at his internet bill. He Is three months behind. (Credit: Fahima Degia)


During the pandemic, the majority of U.S. households needed the internet for everything, from work to entertainment. According to the Pew Research Center, 80 percent of U.S. households subscribe to a broadband internet service. With many households using the Internet, Congress stepped in to help people afford it with The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). Families that qualified received $30 a month to subsidize access. That subsidy ended on April 1, leaving some New Yorkers scrambling to adjust. 


Fahima Degia reported on this issue a week before the program was cut, as families rapidly browsed through service providers. She spoke to Twariq Baraskar, a Port Authority officer whose family relies on this program. Judith Oferi is a graduate school student who shared how costly the internet is every month. And listeners will hear from Ryan Skukowski, who works for Benefits Data Trust (BDT), a non-profit that has educated about 172,000 families about their eligibility for this program. Skukowski emphasizes the digital divide in this country and how this is not a good time for Congress to cut funding as students are taking finals. 


New Yorkers have been receiving emails from their providers as the program ends, informing them of the new price they will pay for access to the internet. This happened to Baraskar, who simultaneously also sees ads from providers trying to sell him on new plans. 


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About the author(s)

Fahima Degia is an emerging journalist who covers education for Columbia Radio News.