United Way Worldwide has joined a collection of national nonprofit partners to send this letter to Congressional leadership urging the U.S. House and Senate to provide continued funding for the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), which is playing a critical role in closing the digital divide. The ACP is a true bipartisan success story – growing out of initiatives supported by the current and prior Administrations and the broad, national consensus in support of universal access to affordable broadband. It provides qualifying households with $30 a month towards the cost of internet access ($75 on tribal lands) as well as a one-time $100 credit towards the purchase of a laptop or tablet device. Combined with private sector discount programs run by the nation’s major internet providers, ACP can make home broadband effectively free for low-income families.
Currently, over 22 million American households are enrolled in this effective, life changing program – nearly 17% of the total -- massively expanding access to online education, work, health care, government services, and entertainment and culture. It’s one of the most important, effective public policies in place today driving towards equal opportunity and a level playing field for all.
But the ACP will soon exhaust its funds. The FCC recently warned that they must begin wind-down procedures informing households and participating providers about ACP’s impending expiration, meaning millions of Americans will find themselves priced out of the internet virtually overnight if Congress fails to replenish the program’s resources.
We know broadband access impacts people from all backgrounds, in all places - rural, urban, and suburban areas alike. That is why United Way Worldwide is proud to join a coalition of national nonprofits calling for the continued funding of the ACP, which has been a huge support to so many children and families in the communities we serve.
You can join us in voicing your support for continued ACP funding to your U.S. House and Senate representatives here.