Press Release

Welch Brings Together Vermont’s Broadband Leaders to Discuss Critical Importance of Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) and the Need to Pass the ACP Extension Act

Jan 12, 2024

BURLINGTON, VT – On January 12, Sen. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) joined representatives from Vermont Community Broadband Board, NEK Community Action, Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity (CVOEO), and NEK Broadband in Burlington to discuss the introduction of the bipartisan, bicameral Affordable Connectivity Program Extension Act, which will provide $7 billion for the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). This program helps provide affordable high-speed internet to qualifying households in Vermont and across America. The program, which is administered by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), is projected to run out of funding by April without action by Congress.   

“Access to high-speed internet isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity. And staying connected has never been more important, especially for rural communities here in Vermont,” said Sen. Welch. “It was great to speak with broadband leaders and community action agencies that have played a crucial role helping families take advantage of the Affordable Connectivity Program about the importance of extending this program, which has made broadband affordable for more than 25,000 Vermont households in just two years. We are grateful for the support and dedication of these agencies and leaders in helping Vermont families access high-speed internet. Folks in Vermont and across the country rely on a strong internet connection every day, and now they’re relying on Congress to pass the Affordable Connectivity Program Extension Act.” 

Senator Welch was joined by Christine Halquist of the Vermont Community Broadband Board, Paige Hartsell of NEK Community Action, Christa Shute of NEK Broadband, and Virginie Diambou of CVOEO. 

The Affordable Connectivity Program has helped provide high-speed broadband internet to low-income households across the United States, including to an estimated 9% of Vermont households. Over 25,000 Vermont households are enrolled in the ACP, almost half of which are age 50 or older. Vermont has received nearly $1.5 million in funding from the ACP since the start of the program, saving Vermont families about $740,000 total each month.  

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).