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Public Knowledge Commends Bipartisan Initiative to Bolster Affordable Connectivity Program

Bipartisan Initiative to Bolster Affordable Connectivity Program: A new legislative proposal has garnered bipartisan support in a commendable effort to secure additional funding for the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). Recently introduced by Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-NY), Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Sen. Peter Welch (D-VT), Sen. J.D. Vance (R-Ohio), and other influential figures, the “Affordable Connectivity Program Extension Act of 2024″ aims to allocate an extra $7 billion for the ACP in the upcoming year.

Enacted through the “Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act,” the ACP plays a crucial role in bridging the digital divide by offering a $30/month broadband subsidy to financially disadvantaged consumers struggling to afford internet access. With over 20 million eligible households currently benefiting from the program, it addresses the critical issue of broadband adoption barriers, primarily centered around affordability.

Public Knowledge, a prominent advocate for accessible information services, expresses gratitude for the unwavering efforts of these bipartisan leaders. The ACP faces the looming threat of depletion and potential discontinuation by April 2024 without the infusion of additional funds. This scenario could leave millions of low-income households without access to affordable broadband services, severely impacting their connectivity.

Sara Collins, Director of Government Affairs at Public Knowledge, shares her perspective:

“Public Knowledge is pleased to witness the bipartisan commitment of Senator Welch and Reps. Fitzpatrick and Clarke towards sustaining funding for the Affordable Connectivity Program. The subsidy provided by this program is essential for 25 million families, enabling them to afford broadband services crucial for accessing employment opportunities, education, and healthcare services daily. Congress must prioritize continued funding to prevent millions from losing their internet connectivity.

“Numerous members of Congress, spanning both sides of the aisle, have expressed their support for the program’s continuity. With this timely bill, leadership has an opportunity to secure its inclusion in a funding bill. Failure to address this critical situation and renew the ACP may jeopardize the online connections of millions of Americans to essential aspects such as work, healthcare, education, and vital information. The time for Congress to act and keep families connected is now.”

Collins emphasizes that the Affordable Connectivity Program serves as a lifeline for countless Americans, enabling them to stay connected to crucial resources and opportunities. She underscores the widespread support for the program among members of Congress and urges swift action to incorporate the proposed bill into funding measures.

Public Knowledge acknowledges the potential consequences of neglecting the ACP’s funding needs, emphasizing the risk of leaving millions of individuals without reliable internet access. In an era where connectivity is integral to daily life, the organization emphasizes the urgency of congressional leaders taking proactive measures to ensure the continued success of the ACP.

The Institute of Self-Reliance reports that more than 20 million eligible households are currently benefiting from the ACP, illustrating its widespread impact on communities across the nation. Without sustained funding, the program faces an imminent threat, risking its discontinuation by April 2024. Public Knowledge lauds the bipartisan collaboration in introducing the “Affordable Connectivity Program Extension Act of 2024” as a pivotal step towards safeguarding this vital initiative.

Collins concludes by urging Congress to recognize the imminent crisis and act decisively. She emphasizes that the ACP is not merely a luxury but a necessity for millions, facilitating access to education, healthcare, and employment. Public Knowledge calls upon congressional leaders to prioritize the extension of the Affordable Connectivity Program, emphasizing its role in preserving the online connections that have become essential for individuals and families nationwide.

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