Affordable Connectivity Program set to sun out of money if Congress doesn’t act

An internet accessibility program that provides low-cost connections for 23 million American households will run out of money by the end of April, unless Congress takes action in the next few weeks.

The Affordable Connectivity Program launched in 2021, offering low-income recipients between $30-$75 a month off their monthly internet bill. In turn, many internet providers nationwide offer deeper discounts to recipients, leading to many families receiving completely free service.


According to the White House, one in every six families relies on the program to stay connected, including more than 1.7 million Florida households.

“Nearly half of those households are military families, about a quarter of them are seniors,” said Jon Donenberg, the Deputy Director of the National Economic Council. “Affordable, reliable high-speed internet is really an essential part of life in the 21st century. It’s a requirement for Americans to effectively participate in school, to do their jobs, often access health care – especially in rural areas – and to stay connected to their loved ones.”

Adrienne McClintock is among the millions who have come to depend on the Affordable Connectivity Program to stay in touch. The Illinois resident and her fiancé have received free high-speed internet since qualifying for the program more than two years ago.

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“I’ve applied for food stamps, I’ve applied for disability,” she said. “He can apply for jobs, he can get the phone call about jobs.”

McClintock also described how having internet access at home has led to better healthcare. Instead of having to take her laptop to a library and request a private room for telehealth appointments, she’s been able to meet with her doctors virtually from her home.

She received a letter earlier this year, explaining the program was coming to an end. Since then, she’s been bracing herself to once again become disconnected from her friends, healthcare providers, and loved ones.

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“Having to go back to the same behaviors we had when we were homeless, that’s a really hard hit emotionally.”

The Affordable Connectivity Program stopped accepting new recipients in February, as the money set aside by the federal government began to dry up. But the push to save the program began months earlier.

In October, the Biden Administration sent Congress a $6 billion request to keep it funded through the end of 2024. In January, both Democrats and Republicans co-sponsored the Affordable Connectivity Program Extension Act in both the House and the Senate. Now, with weeks to go until funding expires, neither chamber has taken it up for a vote.

Recipients will continue to receive their full discounts for the month of April, with smaller benefits (between $14-$35) for the month of May. In June, it’s expected that many of the 23 million American households who rely on the program will discontinue internet service.

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