Press Release

Welch Joins Public Knowledge, Broadband Access Advocates for Rally to Save the ACP 

Apr 30, 2024

WASHINGTON, D.C.U.S. Senator Peter Welch (D-Vt.) today joined Public Knowledge, FCC Commissioners Anna Gomez and Geoffrey Starks, U.S. National Economic Council Deputy Director Jon Donenberg, and broadband access advocates at the Shaw Neighborhood Library in Washington, D.C., to rally support for the extension of the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), which has helped 23.2 million households across the country get and stay connected to affordable high-speed internet. 

The Senator also emphasized the importance of passing his bipartisan, bicameral Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) Extension Actfor America’s most vulnerable and in need—including seniors, veterans, working families and students, Tribal communities, and patients who rely on the ACP for health care services. In May, Affordable Connectivity Program subscribers will see their benefits reduced to $14 a month, and benefits will end after next month without action by Congress.    

“Our goal now is fully funding the ACP—$7 billion. And we’re going to keep up the noise, we’re going to find a vehicle and we’re going to find the money,” said Senator Welch. “Keeping the noise up really, really matters. And the noise is not just to be loud, it’s to embrace the aspirations of those households in this country who feel connected and don’t want to have that connection cut.” 

The Affordable Connectivity Program Extension Act would provide $7 billion for the ACP. Since its implementation, over 23 million households—including nearly 26,000 households in Vermont—have utilized the program’s discount of up to $30 monthly for internet service, and up to $75 monthly for those living on Tribal lands. 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

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-NY-09) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA-01) are leading the legislation in the House. 

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. 

Watch a recording of the event.