Vance and Welch introduce extension of Affordable Connectivity Program

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 18, 2024

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Last week, U.S.  Sens. JD Vance, R-Ohio, Peter Welch, D-Vermont, Jacky Rosen, D-Nevada and Kevin Cramer, R-North Dakota, and U.S. Reps. Yvette D. Clarke, D-New York, and Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pennsylvania, led their colleagues in the bicameral, bipartisan introduction of the Affordable Connectivity Program Extension Act. 

Vance’s office said this legislation would provide $7 billion for the Affordable Connectivity Program, which provides affordable high-speed internet options to qualifying households across the U.S. The program, which is administered by the Federal Communications Commission, is projected to be exhausted by April 2024 without additional funding. 

Since its implementation, over 22.5 million households across the nation have utilized the program’s monthly discount of up to $30 for Internet service, or up to $75 monthly for those living on tribal lands, Vance’s office said. This program has been utilized by over 800,000 veterans, one million college students, 3.1 million families with a K-12 student receiving free or reduced-price lunch, and 5 million seniors across the United States. In Ohio alone, 1.1 million households have enrolled in the ACP – 23% of households across our state, the second highest household enrollment rate in the nation.

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“Over a million deserving households in Ohio receive low-cost internet access thanks to the Affordable Connectivity Program,” Vance said in a news release. “I’m proud to co-sponsor this bipartisan effort to ensure this successful program continues to deliver results,” said Senator Vance. “This is exactly the type of program my family would have benefited from if I was growing up in Ohio today. We must ensure low-income families all across Ohio, from our bustling cities to the most rural parts of Appalachia, aren’t cut off from the online banking, schooling, and connectivity services they need.”

Vance’s office said the Affordable Connectivity Program Extension Act is supported by more than 400 organizations, including Comcast, AT&T, Charter, US Telecom, NTCA (The Rural Broadband Association), INCOMPAS, WTA (Advocates for Rural Broadband), the Wireless Infrastructure Association, AARP, Communications Workers of America and the AFL-CIO.