Biden administration asks Republicans to extend popular broadband discount program

President Joe Biden's administration on Tuesday called on Republican lawmakers to support legislation that would extend the Affordable Connectivity Program.
biden broadband
President Biden speaks as he announces a $42.5 billion investment in high-speed internet infrastructure during an event in the East Room of the White House on June 26. (Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images)

President Joe Biden’s administration on Tuesday called on Republicans in Congress to extend funding for the Federal Communications Commission’s Affordable Connectivity Program, a consumer broadband rebate program used by more than 23 million households.

Members of Congress in January introduced bipartisan legislation that would add a $7 billion extension to the Affordable Connectivity Program. Without an extension, it’s expected to run out of funding this month.

“In the 21st Century, affordable, reliable, high-speed internet is essential,” Stephen Benjamin, a Biden senior adviser, said during a press call Monday. “High-speed internet is necessary for Americans to participate in school, do their jobs, access health care and stay connected to loved ones, yet millions of Americans can’t afford the cost of their monthly internet connection if they have access to the internet at all.”

The the $14.2 billion Affordable Connectivity Program was signed into law in November 2021 and began accepting enrollments at the end of that year. The FCC is now winding down the program and said that though April will be the last month recipients will receive full benefits, ACP households may receive some percentage of their usual discounts in May.


Benjamin said that nearly half of the 23 million households enrolled in program are military families and about a quarter are seniors. He also noted that communities of color and rural residents will be disproportionately impacted by the program’s ending.

Apparently no action has been taken on the legislation since it was introduced in January by Sen. Peter Welch, D-Vt., and referred to the Senate Appropriations Committee.  Federal officials on a press call did not specify what congressional Republicans were doing to stall the legislation, but Jon Donenberg, deputy director of the White House’s National Economic Council, said that continuing the program has garnered more interest from Democrats.

“We have not seen that interest from Republican leaders in Congress,” Donenberg said. “Ultimately, we need both sides to come together on this and get it done for their constituents. Otherwise, it’s not going to happen.”

Since October, Biden has been calling on Congress to pass legislation that would extend ACP through the end of 2024. He also included funding for the program in his 2025 budget request.

FCC Chair Jessica Rosenworcel wrote of the “urgent need” to continue the program in a letter dated Tuesday addressed to Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., chair of the committee on commerce, science and transportation. Rosenworcel added that the FCC established the program in “record time” when originally asked by Congress.


“The result has been the most consequential broadband affordability effort in our history,” Rosenworcel wrote. “I want you to know that the agency remains ready to keep this program running, should Congress provide additional funding. We have come too far to allow this successful effort to promote internet access for all to end.”

ACP enrollment count by household:

Alaska: 27,784 

Alabama: 413,668 

Arkansas: 215,017 


Arizona: 522,188

California: 2,945,282

Colorado: 251,506

Connecticut: 186,531

Delaware: 52,446


Florida: 1,707,856

Georgia: 722,473

Hawaii: 60,721

Iowa: 124,054

Idaho: 53,962


Illinois: 704,532

Indiana: 425,968

Kansas: 133,746

Kentucky: 455,685

Louisiana: 558,780


Massachusetts: 367,884

Maryland: 287,722

Maine: 98,639

Michigan: 941,244

Minnesota: 244,916


Missouri: 395,504

Mississippi: 244,280

Montana: 54,539

North Carolina: 901,394

North Dakota: 17,742


Nebraska: 96,140

New Hampshire: 38,859

New Jersey: 337,969

New Mexico: 184,131

Nevada: 276,024


New York: 1,792,187

Ohio: 1,157,054

Oklahoma: 351,879

Oregon: 238,974

Pennsylvania: 763,742


Rhode Island: 83,516

South Carolina: 415,680

South Dakota: 24,194

Tennessee: 429,621

Texas: 1,718,552


Utah: 75,088

Virginia: 470,457

Vermont: 25,923

Washington: 358,024

Wisconsin: 426,733


West Virginia: 128,571

Wyoming: 21,73

American Samoa: 1,685

District of Columbia: 186,531

Guam: 1,322


Northern Mariana Islands: 3,218

Puerto Rico: 644,623

Virgin Islands: 6,780

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