Press Release

Welch Speaks on Senate Floor on Urgent Need to Pass the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) Extension Act

Jan 24, 2024

Legislation Would Help Keep Vermonters Connected to High-Speed Internet

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Last night, Senator Peter Welch (D-Vt.) delivered remarks on the Senate Floor emphasizing the importance of passing the bipartisan, bicameral Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) Extension Act. The bill would provide $7 billion for the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) to ensure the program lasts through Calendar Year 2024, which helps connect qualifying households to high-speed internet and is currently utilized by more than 22.5 million American households. Sen. Welch’s remarks come days before an estimated one-in-six U.S. households receive a notice from their internet company that the ACP program is ending.  

Senator Welch emphasized the success of ACP in Vermont and called on Congress to fully fund the program so that communities across the country can get and stay connected: 

“We have a decision that we have to make as a Congress. Will we maintain this bipartisan commitment we’ve had to the citizens of this country to make certain that everybody, regardless of income, has the best possible opportunity to have access to high-speed internet that is as essential to our well-being, our social connection, our sense of working together, as electricity was in the ‘30s?,” said Sen. Welch in his remarks about the Affordable Connectivity Program. “25,000 Vermont families have benefitted by it. 22.5 million American families have benefitted by it. Let us continue the program, find the $7 billion that is necessary to maintain this, and make sure that the progress we’ve made working together to build out high-speed internet and make it accessible to all our citizens continues.” 

Over 25,000 Vermont households are enrolled in the ACP, almost half of which are age 50 or older. The program, which is administered by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), is projected to run out of funding by April without action by Congress. 

The bill is led in the Senate by Senator Welch, and Sens. JD Vance (R-Ohio), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), and Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.). U.S. Representatives Yvette D. Clarke (D-NY-09) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA-01) introduced a companion bill in the House. 

Watch Senator Welch’s full remarks here