Last month, President Joe Biden asked Congress to put $6 billion towards the Affordable Connectivity Program, ACP. The funds requested by the Biden administration would keep the ACP running through December 2024.
The program, which helps fund the cost of broadband for low-income households, is set to run out of funds in April 2024. The ACP provides a $30 monthly discount towards internet service for eligible households and a $75 monthly discount to households on qualifying tribal lands, according to the Federal Communications Commission. The program also offers a one-time discount of up to $100 towards a computer, laptop or tablet purchase.
Without the funding, 21 million households could see their internet bills go up, and potentially no longer be able to afford broadband access. In today’s digital age, almost everything can be done online from doctor appointments and paying bills to working from home and attending school. Unreliable or slow internet speeds — or no internet access at all — can cripple a household.
“[T]oo often, high costs create a barrier and tens of millions of families, students, and seniors are left without access to high-speed internet, or have to sacrifice other necessities to pay their internet bill, exacerbating underlying inequities,” the White House said in a release.
Multiple industry associations have voiced support to continue funding the ACP including NCTA, The Rural Broadband Assocation.
“NTCA [applauds] the White House for identifying the need for additional funding to prolong the effectiveness of the ACP program in its supplemental appropriations request, and we hope that this program that enjoys such widespread support will continue to play an important role in keeping Americans connected,” the organization said in a statement last month.
USTelecom also said it supports continued funding of the ACP.
“The Affordable Connectivity Program is a critical part of reaching our shared goal of universal connectivity,” USTelecom President Jonathan Spalter said in a statement. “We urge Congress to find a long-term solution to sustain this vital program.”
You might qualify for an ACP benefit if you participate in a federal assistance or tribal assistance program, already receive a lifeline benefit, or qualify through your child or dependent. You can fill out an application on the ACP’s website.