Press Release

Welch Statement on Next Week’s Freeze of Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) Enrollments

Feb 1, 2024

Welch is Leading the Bipartisan, Bicameral Affordable Connectivity Program Extension Act to Keep Nearly 23 Million Americans Connected 

WASHINGTON, D.C.Senator Peter Welch (D-Vt.) today released the following statement in reaction to FCC Chairwoman Rosenworcel’s formal notice to Congress that the FCC will be forced to freeze new enrollments for the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP):

“In today’s digital age, a week without high-speed internet could mean you’re missing class, missing work, or missing your doctor appointment.

“The Chairwoman’s notice of a freeze of the Affordable Connectivity Program should be a wakeup call. If we don’t act soon, the bipartisan progress we’ve made to build out high-speed internet and make it accessible will be gone.

“I’ve heard from so many Vermont seniors, veterans, students and families about how important the ACP is to them, and I know so many Americans across the country, in blue states and red states, feel the same. We cannot let millions of Americans slip into digital darkness,” said Sen. Welch.

Senator Welch, along with Sens. JD Vance (R-Ohio), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), and Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) introduced the Affordable Connectivity Program Extension Act, bipartisan legislation that would provide $7 billion for the program, which is nearly out of funding and projected to be exhausted by April without congressional action.

U.S. Representatives Yvette Clarke (D-NY-09) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA-01) have led the introduction of a bipartisan companion bill in the House of Representatives, along with original co-sponsors 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).

Last week, Sen. Welch spoke on the Senate floor about how important the ACP is to Vermont, and called on Congress to fully fund the program so families can stay connected. Over 25,000 Vermont households are enrolled in the ACP, almost half of which are over age 50 or older. Since its implementation, over 22.5 million households have utilized the program’s monthly discount of up to $30 for internet service, and up to $75 monthly for those living on Tribal lands.