Millions Threatened with Loss of Affordable Internet

( – The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) will end in May unless Congress agrees to continue its funding. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) provides $30 per month to low-income households to ensure they can pay for internet access, and Democrats are pressuring Congress to keep the initiative in place after its April deadline. Republicans, however, say the program is wasteful.

GOP lawmakers claim that most of the households receiving the subsidy already had broadband access when the ACP was created and described the program as an example of the “Biden administration’s reckless spending spree.”

FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel wrote to lawmakers in January asking them to extend funding and stating that 23 million households otherwise risk losing internet access. In her letter, she noted that if funding is not forthcoming immediately, she will take steps to wind down the program. “The Commission will announce a date for stopping the enrolment of new households in the ACP,” she added.

To receive the subsidy, households must also be in receipt of other benefits, including SNAP, Medicaid, or veterans’ pensions. The program has had bipartisan support in the past, as well as the backing of several state Governors. In a letter to House Speaker Mike Johnson, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, and Senate leaders Chuck Schumer and Mitch McConnell last November, a group of Governors asked both parties to collaborate with the Biden administration to secure continued funding for ACP.

“There is broad agreement across the political spectrum that affordable high-speed internet is a necessity in today’s world, whether it’s for education, work or health care,” the letter stated. It was signed by Democrats, including JB Pritzker of Illinois and Arizona’s Katie Hobbs, as well as Republicans Spencer Cox of Utah and Mark Gordon of Wyoming.

Statistics from February 2023 reveal that there are 311 million regular internet users in America. This means that 91.8% of households have web access – up from 75% in 2012.

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