Falmouth Broadband Accessibility Advocates Highlight Bill Assistance Programs

FALMOUTH – At a recent presentation with the Falmouth select board, broadband accessibility advocates highlighted assistance programs that could save 8,000 local households $1,200 a year on internet bills. 

Retired Federal Communications Commission Senior Advisor and FalmouthNet Advisory Board member David Isenberg said the federal Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) can save $30 a month on bills and Comcast’s Internet Essentials Plus (IEP) volunteer program provides access to those qualified for under $100.

“I’ve personally coached four—and today another fifth one is in progress—through the ACP and IEP application process and in those previous cases the bill did indeed go to zero,” said Isenberg at the most recent Falmouth select board meeting.

“Now it’s complicated to apply for the ACP and IEP. Everyone of the four people that I helped told me spontaneously that they wouldn’t have been able to do it themselves and would have given up. It’s just really complicated and there’s a lot of misinformation. Part of the problem is Comcast is reimbursed for ACP but not for IEP, so Comcast tends to underplay the IEP side of the benefit.”

Acting Town Manager Peter Johnson Staub echoed the sentiment of the application’s difficulty and supported the volunteer initiative.

“I don’t think that anyone in this room disagrees that affordable internet is incredibly important. This is a terrific opportunity to take advantage of and applaud these gentlemen’s’ efforts in promoting these programs and getting some folks signed up for them. There were events held by various staffed departments that did have some success in getting folks signed up, but it is a bit of a slog.”

Town officials said they supported the volunteer initiative to inform people of the programs, but couldn’t spare the employees to make a more dedicated advisory committee at this time. 

They urged the volunteers to connect with the school committee who may be able to help inform parents.

Isenberg said that there is considerable overlap between those eligible  for the broadband accessibility programs and those on the schools meal assistance program.

More on the ACP can be found on the FCC’s website here.

More on the IEP can be found on xfinity’s website here.

About Grady Culhane

Grady Culhane is a Cape Cod native from Eastham. He studied media communications at Cape Cod Community College and joined the CapeCod.com News Center in 2019.

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