The American Civil Liberties Union thanks Representatives Yvette Clarke and Brian Fitzpatrick, as well as Senators Peter Welch and J.D. Vance, for introducing the bipartisan and bicameral Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) Extension Act. Although the ACP has been a lifeline for more than 22 million households across the country who struggle to pay their internet bills, the program is set to run out of funding in just three months. This legislation would appropriate $7 billion to keep ACP afloat.
The ACLU joins an array of over 400 civil rights, consumer and industry groups advocating for necessary funding to keep Americans connected.
“The internet is no longer optional – it’s essential. Without broadband, our local communities cannot access opportunities in education, and employment, nor speak out online and exercise their First Amendment rights. Households who struggle to afford broadband shouldn’t have to sacrifice other necessities to stay connected. The Affordable Connectivity Program has proved to be so necessary that it is facing a funding cliff. But, the Affordable Connectivity Program Extension Act could stop families from falling off. We are grateful to the bill sponsors for looking out for families in need.” said Jenna Leventoff, senior policy counsel at the ACLU.
To date, the ACP has helped more than 22.5 million households pay for their internet. Many of the communities living without broadband access are disproportionately non-white, low income, or rural, making this not only an issue of getting online, but progressing toward systematic equality and equity.