The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel has sent a letter to Congressional leaders confirming that the Affordable Connectivity Programme (ACP) will run out of funding in April without congressional intervention
The FCC is expected to begin winding down operations for the ACP soon if additional funding cannot be secured.
The ACP was launched in December 2021 under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law with an initial budget of $14.2 billion.
The programme helps almost 23 million households around the US to access high-speed internet. It provides eligible households with a $30 discount per month towards internet services, or a $75 discount for households on qualifying tribal lands.
Without the funding, not only will new households not benefit from assistance in the future, but millions of households currently supported by the programme will be cut off.
If this happens, the US’s historic $42.5 billion Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment Program (BEAD) would be undermined, says Rosenworcel.
The letter states that, “the Administration requested an additional $6 billion to extend the ACP as part of its domestic supplemental funding request to Congress, which, alongside program changes, would extend the program through the end of calendar year 2024.”
Rosenworcel is not alone in her campaign to keep the programme running. In November, 26 American governors wrote a letter to congressional leaders, emphasising the programme’s importance: “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.”
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