Press Release

ICYMI: Families Set to Lose Billions in Work Opportunities, Telehealth Savings If Congress Doesn’t Act on Welch-Led ACP Extension Act

May 7, 2024

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Chamber of Progress recently released a new study analyzing the full costs of a lapse in Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) funding. The study found that lower-income families would not only lose access to high-speed internet but also to $10 billion in work opportunities, $1.4 billion in telehealth savings, and $627 million in student benefits. The Chamber of Progress found that, “accounting for lost economic opportunities, education, telehealth services, and the internet subsidies themselves, vulnerable communities are projected to lose over $20 billion annually in economic benefits.” 

Senator Peter Welch (D-Vt.), the Senate sponsor of the bipartisan Affordable Connectivity Program Extension Act, released the following reaction: 

“Extending the Affordable Connectivity Program is key to ensuring every family, worker, and patient in America has the same opportunity as everyone else. Today’s 21st-century economy requires a digital connection—and this Chamber of Progress report shows just how much losing that digital connection could cost lower-income folks who utilize the ACP,” said Sen. Welch. “From telehealth, to online classes, to finding job opportunities, the ACP couldn’t be more important for the 23 million American households who are about to lose this program. Congress must come together and take action on this bipartisan bill.” 

Read the full study, titled ‘Low-income Americans will take a $20 billion hit when the Affordable Connectivity Program expires’ here

Nearly 26,000 Vermont households—including working families, veterans, and seniors—are enrolled in the ACP. Since its implementation, over 23.2 million households have utilized the program’s monthly discount for internet service. In May, Affordable Connectivity Program subscribers saw their benefits reduced to $14, and benefits will end after next month without action by Congress.   

The Affordable Connectivity Program Extension Act is cosponsored in the Senate by U.S. Senators Peter Welch (D-Vt.), JD Vance (R-Ohio), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), and Roger Marshall (R-Kan.). U.S. Representatives Yvette D. Clarke (D-N.Y.-09) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.-01) are leading the legislation in the House.  

Read more about the bill here and see state-by-state data on the ACP here.