Biden Administration Asks Congress for $6 Billion to Continue ACP

The internet subsidy dubbed the Affordable Connectivity Program is set to dry up as early as April 2024.

Biden Administration Asks Congress for $6 Billion to Continue ACP
Photo of Joe Biden in 2019 by Gage Skidmore.

WASHINGTON, October 25, 2023 – The Biden administration asked Congress on Wednesday for $6 billion to extend the Affordable Connectivity Program through December 2024.

The program was set up with a $14 billion allotment from the 2021 Infrastructure, Investment and Jobs Act. It provides a monthly internet discount of $30 for low-income households and $75 for residents of Tribal lands, more than 20 million households in total. Participants can also get a one-time $100 device subsidy.

“Without this funding, tens of millions of people would lose this benefit and would no longer be able to afford high-speed internet service without sacrificing other necessities,” the White House said in a statement.

About $5 billion remains in the program, according to a monitoring tool developed by the advocacy group Institute for Local Self-Reliance. That money is expected to dry up as early as April 2024.

The request from Biden joins repeated calls for Congress to renew the program. Lawmakers have underscored the importance of the program for closing the digital divide – allowing low-income Americans to access the high-speed broadband funded by the $42.5 billion Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment program.

Broadband providers also want to see the program continued, asking Congress in September to use money from another yearly broadband subsidy to keep the ACP afloat. They argued the Universal Service Fund, itself the subject of calls for reform, would provide a more sustainable funding model than repeated allocations from Congress.

The funding request also comes on the same day as House Republicans elected a Speaker, ending weeks of deadlock and opening the door for potential legislation.

Popular Tags