Millions of Americans set to lose discounted internet access this week

April is the last month of full funding for the Affordable Connectivity Program.
Elderly woman using a laptop
Posted at 6:56 PM, Apr 29, 2024

Millions of low-income families rely on subsidized internet access to afford high-speed connections. However, this week, many could lose this crucial program, jeopardizing their ability to stay connected.

Earlier this year, the Federal Communications Commission announced that the Affordable Connectivity Program will be out of money by the end of April, and while the White House asked Congress for an extra $6 billion to keep the program until at least the end of this year, Congress has yet to approve that funding.

The program, launched on Dec. 31, 2021, under President Joe Biden's Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, helps 23 million households in the U.S. save between $30 and $75 on their monthly internet bills, and some eligible households even received up to $100 to buy a computer or tablet. If this program ends, chances are many may not be able to afford internet access or devices.

"Almost half of the households who participate are military households, roughly a quarter are African American, roughly a quarter are Latino and all of them are in dire need of making sure that they have a tool, high-speed internet, that enables them to get access to health care, enables their kids to go to school, enables them if they're small business owners to grow that business," said Tom Perez, the director of the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, when the FCC first announced it was running out of funds.

According to the White House, this program also benefits 4 million seniors and 10 million Americans over the age of 50 every month, while also providing enhanced subsidies to 320,000 households in tribal lands, where internet costs are usually higher.

Overall, around 60 million individuals in the U.S. will feel the impact once the program ends on April 30, according to CNN.