Affordable Connectivity Program shutting down

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) – James Gatton is over 65 years old with a disability and says his brother is the only family member left for him to keep in touch with, and that communication is a big part of his life.

“It was a dark spot of my life, which happened too many times, in the past 30 years I’ve been losing family members left and right and now it’s down to us two,” Gatton said.

As they continue to age, health conditions are always in question, and to Gatton, communication is key to keeping him in check.

However, Gatton says his internet and phone services from Cricket will get cut off as soon as May, with the Affordable Connectivity Program, also known as ACP, shutting down.

According to the Federal Communications Commission, more than 23 million people, like Gatton, will either get kicked off their plan or face skyrocketing bills.

“There is nothing I can do about it. It hurts. Communication is going to be a severe problem and if you have to call 911, what do you do?” Gatton added.

Rich Zeck, the director of Pitt County Council on Aging says with many seniors who cannot afford cable and landlines, phones serve as their lifeline.

Having that taken away could be devastating for the seniors.

“They won’t have access to the internet, they won’t have access to family and friends, they won’t have access to calling to get an appointment for food stamps, for DSS, whatever the case may be,” Zeck explained.

Internet service that was covered by the ACP was valued at up to $30 a month.

Congress has until May to provide the $ 6 billion dollars in funding.