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Millions Could Lose Internet Subsidy as Popular Program Nears Funding Cliff


Ohio and millions across the nation could face a critical internet access gap this spring unless Congress acts to extend a popular program. The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), which offers significant discounts on monthly broadband service to low-income households, is projected to run out of money by April, according to the office of Senator J.D. Vance (R-OH).

The bipartisan program, praised for its success in bridging the digital divide, is currently absent from the appropriations bill being negotiated ahead of a Friday deadline. This omission threatens to leave an estimated 23 million households nationwide without the $30 monthly subsidy that helps them afford internet access.

In Ohio alone, over 1.1 million households, or roughly 23% of the state’s total, rely on the ACP to stay connected. Recognizing this critical need, Senator Vance joined forces with Senator Peter Welch (D-VT) to introduce the Affordable Connectivity Program Extension Act in January. This bipartisan legislation seeks $7 billion to ensure the FCC can continue administering the monthly discounts for high-speed internet service.

According to the FCC, households earning up to 200% of the federal poverty line qualify for the ACP benefit. This translates to an annual income threshold of $29,160 for a single person and $60,000 for a family of four.

Fortunately, efforts to extend the program’s lifeline are underway in both chambers of Congress. The House bill, spearheaded by Representatives Clarke and Fitzpatrick, boasts over 200 co-sponsors and is expected to gain further momentum. Similarly, the Senate bill co-led by Senators Welch and Vance has garnered bipartisan support with six co-sponsors.

Lawmakers from both parties are urging their colleagues to include ACP funding in the upcoming spending package to avoid a program shutdown in April or May. Missing this opportunity would leave limited options for securing program funds.