Press Release

Passing the Bipartisan ‘Affordable Connectivity Program Extension Act’ is Essential for America’s Veterans and Servicemember Families

Apr 9, 2024

WASHINGTON, D.C. Sen. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) and Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke (NY-09) are urging their colleagues to pass the bipartisan Affordable Connectivity Program Extension Act now so more than 1 million veterans and servicemembers can keep their access to high-speed affordable internet. The bipartisan Affordable Connectivity Program Extension Act would provide $7 billion for the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), which provides affordable high-speed internet options to qualifying households across the U.S. 

Over 23 million Americans utilize the ACP, and over 1 million ACP subscribers are veterans and survivors. Military families also make up nearly half of the households that benefit from ACP. This program plays an important role in helping veterans access services provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs, such as telemedicine, job training, and VA benefits. Letting the ACP run out of funding would have devastating effects on people who use this program: 77% of households who rely on the ACP say losing their ACP benefit would disrupt their service by making them change their plan or drop internet service entirely

“Our veterans and servicemembers increasingly rely on high-speed internet to maintain critical connections in their lives, including accessing veterans’ benefits and health care services. But the reality is that many veterans and military families–who have sacrificed so much in service of our country–cannot afford the internet bills that help them stay connected. Congress must act now and pass the Affordable Connectivity Program Extension Act so more than a million veterans and military families can keep access to high-speed internet and avoid slipping into digital darkness,” said Senator Welch.   

“When more than a million veterans and their families rely on the Affordable Connectivity Program for invaluable breathing room at the end of every month, it’s clear that Congress has a responsibility to preserve their access to reliable internet. Leaving military families to fend for themselves in the face of rising costs is not an appropriate way for this country to express our gratitude for their years of service. Moreover, it would only impede our work to bridge the digital divide and ensure no one is denied the tools they need to stay connected and navigate our increasingly online world. For the sake of our veterans and millions more Americans of different communities, backgrounds, and demographics, Congress must act now to protect affordable broadband in this nation,” said Rep. Yvette Clarke

The Affordable Connectivity Program Extension Act was introduced by 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 (D-NY-09) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA-01). Reps. Clarke and Fitzpatrick were joined by original co-sponsors joined by original cosponsors Reps. Michael Lawler (R-NY-17), Norma Torres (D-CA-35), Anthony D’Esposito (R-NY-04), Debbie Dingell (D-MI-6), Darren Soto (D-FL-9), and Marc Molinaro (R-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. 

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