In Westchester County, the digital divide persists, impacting over 50,000 households, with minorities facing a disproportionate burden. However, significant strides have been made through initiatives like the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), alongside Y-Zone and Connect Westchester.

The imminent expiration of the ACP, due to funding depletion, poses a grave threat to enrolled households. Without Congressional intervention, over 75% of these households could lose internet access, undoing years of progress.

In a recent OpEd in loHud, Christopher B. Fisher, Partner at Cuddy & Feder LLP and Vice-Chair of the Westchester County Association (WCA), alongside Michael Romita, President and CEO of WCA, are urging Congress to pass the Affordable Connectivity Program Extension Act.

Established in 2021, the ACP has significantly enhanced internet affordability, benefiting one in six families nationwide and over 40,000 households in Westchester County. Chris played a pivotal role in spearheading two groundbreaking initiatives in Westchester, Y-Zone and Connect Westchester, which have notably advanced digital equity and bolstered the local economy.

Data analyzed by the Benton Institute for Broadband and Society underscores the ACP’s pivotal role in facilitating access to crucial services like job training, telemedicine, and education. Notably, ACP connectivity facilitated by WCA programs has led to a 2.7% annual increase in household income for participants, showcasing tangible economic gains.

Moreover, the discontinuation of the ACP jeopardizes a $42.5 billion allocation for rural broadband and digital equity initiatives nationwide. Without a funded subscriber base, the sustainability of taxpayer-funded broadband investments and public-private partnerships hangs in the balance.

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