Vance and Welch propose expansion of Affordable Connectivity Program

Last week, a group of bipartisan lawmakers including U.S. Senators JD Vance (R-Ohio), Peter Welch (D-Vermont), Jacky Rosen (D-Nevada), Kevin Cramer (R-North Dakota), and U.S. Representatives Yvette D. Clarke (D-New York) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pennsylvania) introduced the Affordable Connectivity Program Extension Act.

The bill aims to extend the Affordable Connectivity Program, ensuring access to affordable and reliable internet for all Americans. Vance’s office has announced that a new legislation has been introduced to allocate $7 billion towards the Affordable Connectivity Program.

This program aims to provide affordable high-speed internet options to eligible households across the United States. Currently administered by the Federal Communications Commission, the program is expected to run out of funds by April 2024 if no further funding is provided.

The program’s monthly discount of up to $30 for Internet service, or up to $75 for those living on tribal lands, has been utilized by over 22.5 million households across the nation, according to Vance’s office.

This program has also been beneficial for various groups, including 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 in the United States. In Ohio, alone, the ACP has enrolled 1.1 million households, which accounts for 23% of households in our state, making it the second-highest household enrollment rate in the nation.

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Senator Vance expressed his pride in co-sponsoring the bipartisan effort to sustain the Affordable Connectivity Program, which provides affordable internet access to over a million deserving households in Ohio.

In a news release, he stated, “This is exactly the type of program my family would have benefited from if I was growing up in Ohio today.” The senator emphasized the importance of ensuring that low-income families, regardless of their location, have access to essential online services such as banking, education, and connectivity.

The Affordable Connectivity Program Extension Act has received support from over 400 organizations, including major companies like Comcast, AT&T, and Charter.

It is also backed by industry associations such as US Telecom, NTCA (The Rural Broadband Association), INCOMPAS, and WTA (Advocates for Rural Broadband). The Wireless Infrastructure Association, AARP, Communications Workers of America, and the AFL-CIO are also among the supporters.

Vance and Welch have recently announced an extension of the Affordable Connectivity Program. This initiative aims to provide accessible and affordable internet connectivity to individuals across the country. By expanding the program, Vance and Welch are working towards bridging the digital divide and ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to stay connected in today’s increasingly digital world.

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