Without Extension, Program is Projected to Run out of Funding in April 2024
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Peter Welch (D-Vt.), JD Vance (R-Ohio), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), and Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) and U.S. Representatives Yvette D. Clarke (NY-09) and Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01) led their colleagues in the bicameral, bipartisan introduction of the Affordable Connectivity Program Extension Act. This legislation would provide $7 billion for the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), which provides affordable high-speed internet options to qualifying households across the U.S. The program, which is administered by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is projected to be exhausted by April 2024 without additional funding.
Since its implementation, over 22.5 million households have utilized the program’s monthly discount of up to $30 for internet service, and up to $75 monthly for those living on Tribal lands. This program has been utilized by over 800,000 veterans, one million college students, 3.1 million families with a K-12 student receiving free or reduced-price lunch, and 5 million seniors across the United States.
“The Affordable Connectivity Program has helped close the digital divide by connecting over 25,000 Vermont households to lower-cost internet—an essential for working, learning, and staying connected to our communities. Access to high-speed internet isn’t a luxury anymore, it’s a necessity. That’s why it’s never been so important to avoid this funding cliff and extend the ACP,” said Senator Welch, member of the Senate Commerce Committee and Chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee’s Rural Development and Energy Subcommittee. “The ACP Extension Act will help ensure families, seniors, and workers in Vermont can continue to access this program, and in-turn continue to access high-speed, reliable broadband at an affordable rate. We’re going to keep working across the aisle and across the Capitol to deliver on this area of common ground agreement.”
“Over a million deserving households in Ohio receive low-cost internet access thanks to the Affordable Connectivity Program. I’m proud to co-sponsor this bipartisan effort to ensure this successful program continues to deliver results,” said Senator Vance. “This is exactly the type of program my family would have benefited from if I was growing up in Ohio today. We must ensure low-income families all across Ohio, from our bustling cities to the most rural parts of Appalachia, aren’t cut off from the online banking, schooling, and connectivity services they need.”
“The Affordable Connectivity Program that I helped create through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is making high-speed internet more affordable for over 260,000 Nevada families and saving them an estimated $7.3 million every month,” said Senator Rosen. “In this day and age, high-speed internet is essential for every Nevadan, and I’m proud to introduce this bipartisan bill to keep it affordable and lower costs for hardworking families.”
“The Affordable Connectivity Program has been critical to connecting our most remote and underserved communities to the rest of North Dakota and the world. Our legislation bridges the digital divide by keeping this program funded and operational through unspent COVID-19 funds so every farmer, student, veteran, or senior citizen in North Dakota stays connected. By maintaining affordable access to high-speed internet, we are helping contribute to our state and country’s economic growth,” said Senator Cramer.
“We live in an increasingly digital world where broadband internet access has become a necessity for everyday life. Every month, nearly 1.8 million New Yorkers – from students and educators to older Americans and veterans – rely on the Affordable Connectivity Program to help pay for their internet bill. Across the nation, more than 22 million American households already rely on the ACP for internet access,” said Congresswoman Clarke. “The bipartisan, bicameral Affordable Connectivity Program Extension Act provides a transformative opportunity to bridge the gap of the digital divide for communities of color, urban and rural families, and so many more underserved Americans. I’m proud to join my colleagues to extend critical funding for this all too important program.”
“Congress must engage to help bridge the digital divide among Americans and increase accessibility to reliable broadband for all of our communities,” said Congressman Fitzpatrick. “The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) ensures that families in need have access to high-speed broadband, and I’m proud to join my colleagues on this bipartisan, bicameral bill to extend funding for this critical program.”
Senators Welch, Vance, Rosen, and Cramer are leading the introduction of the bill in the Senate. Representatives Clarke and Fitzpatrick are leading the bill in the House of Representatives and are joined by original cosponsors Reps. Michael Lawler (NY-17), Norma Torres (CA-35), Anthony D’Esposito (NY-04), Debbie Dingell (MI-6), Darren Soto (FL-9), and Marc Molinaro (NY-19).
The Affordable Connectivity Program Extension Act is supported by over 400 organizations, including: AARP, American Civil Liberties Union, AT&T, Charter, Comcast, Communications Workers of America, Cox Communications, CTIA – The Wireless Association, INCOMPAS, NAACP, NCTA – The Internet & Television Association, NTCA – The Rural Broadband Association, T-Mobile, USTelecom, Verizon, Wireless Infrastructure Association, and WTA – Advocates for Rural Broadband.