Press Release

Welch on Affordable Connectivity Program: “I’m not giving up this fight.”

May 31, 2024

BURLINGTON, VT – Today, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will be forced to end the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) because Congress failed to vote on an extension of the internet affordability program. Sen. Peter Welch (D-Vt.), lead sponsor of bipartisan legislation to extend the program, released the following statement: 

“Broadband access is one of the few things we can still find bipartisan agreement on in Washington—yet the Affordable Connectivity Program could very well be the next victim of Congressional dysfunction. The program has bipartisan support. There is frankly no reason to accept the failure to act on it.

“The economic and social consequences of not meeting this moment will be severe for the most vulnerable in our communities—and they’ll be even more painful for those who live in rural areas that are already disconnected. You cannot participate in today’s economy without the internet. You cannot access education, or health care. We, the people who stand up and give a voice for these people – our constituents, cannot choose to leave so much of America disconnected and in the dark. 

“I am determined to work with my colleagues to keep this program going, for the good of working families, seniors, and veterans across America. A monthly rebate of $30 might not seem like much to some of my colleagues in Congress, but to many families it means being able to stay connected while putting food on the table. I’m not giving up this fight.” 

For over 140 days, Congress has had bipartisan support to extend the ACP through the Sen. Welch-led Affordable Connectivity Program Extension Act. Extending the ACP has been an urgent priority of both parties, yet no action has been taken to protect connectivity for over 23 million households across America.  

Since its implementation in President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, over 23 million households utilized the program’s monthly discount of up to $30 for internet service, and up to $75 monthly for households on Tribal lands. The FCC warned Congress the program was nearing exhaustion and was forced to reduce the monthly subscriber rebate to $14 in May and end it entirely in June.  

See a state-by-state breakdown of households that will lose access to affordable internet without action by Congress here