The Federal Communications Commission’s Affordable Connectivity Program, which provides discounts on internet service to more than 22 million households, could stop accepting new enrollment on Thursday if Congress doesn’t approve further funding.
FCC Commissioner Anna Gomez said during an event Wednesday that she’s “concerned” about the ACP program’s possible expiration because of how it would affect those who can’t afford broadband. The funding for ACP is expected to run out in April and the FCC has said it’s “taking steps to wind down” the program.
“I’m very concerned about it for several reasons,” Gomez said Wednesday during an event hosted by the tech trade association Information Technology Institute in Washington D.C. “We want to make sure that every user is connected to the internet, it is so important for participation in society, in our economy,” Gomez said during the summit. “It’s important for finding a job, applying for college or doing homework…It’s so central to our lives now that those who can’t be connected are going to fall farther and farther behind.”
Members of Congress last month introduced legislation that would add a $7 billion extension to the program, which was implemented in 2021 and offers steep discounts on broadband internet and one-time assistance on purchasing a computer or tablet.
During the same event, Stephen Benjamin, senior adviser to President Joe Biden, said, “It can’t be overstated how important this is,” in reference to the Affordable Connectivity Program. Benjamin pointed out that ACP is more used than the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
“It’s really important that the same bipartisan leadership that yielded ACP, we really need to make sure that everyone steps up and make sure we continue to provide these opportunities for families all across this country,” Benjamin said. “It really does affect everyone, in every community all across the country. It’s worth advocating for and fighting for, and hopefully and prayerfully Congress steps up and allows us to continue the program and maybe even continue to expand it.”