Today the FCC announced that on February 7, 2024, they would stop accepting new signups for the Affordable Connectivity Program, also known as ACP. This program offers discounts on internet service to low-income Americans. This comes as the program is running out of money as it waits for congress to provide new funding.
“We have successfully connected millions upon millions of households to broadband services. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law established a historic and unquestionably successful program to make broadband affordable, and we now appear on the brink of letting that success slip away,” said FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel. “Disconnecting millions of families from their jobs, schools, markets, and information is not the solution. We have come too far with the ACP to turn back.”
The FCC also announced that by January 25, 2024 internet providers will inform customers using the program that it may soon run out of money. No date for that has been announced yet but it is expected to happen in April of this year.
This week the Affordable Connectivity Program Extension Act was introduced in Congress. This bill would provide an extra $7 billion for the ACP to keep it running. “I’m grateful to Sens. Welch, Vance, Rosen, and Cramer and Reps. Clarke and Fitzpatrick for their bipartisan leadership as we seek to maintain the historic progress we’ve made through this program.” Said Chairwoman Rosenworcel welcoming the legislation.
Currently, roughly 23 million Americans use the program, and if it runs out of money, they will see their bills go up when the program runs out of money. It is hoped that Congress will find a short-term or long-term funding bill before that happens.