By Kathy Grillo, Senior Vice President of Public Policy and Government Affairs, Verizon
Congress has an opportunity to extend funding for this successful program and reform existing broadband subsidies.
Recently, Congress has taken meaningful steps to tackle broadband affordability and accessibility in rural and urban areas. The pandemic brought home to all of us how critical it is for all citizens to have robust broadband connectivity for work, school, healthcare, civic engagement, and more. This is why Congress passed and Verizon participates in the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), which provides subsidized internet services for eligible low-income households.
The ACP is a bipartisan, historic achievement in addressing affordability challenges. It allows tens of millions of eligible American households to receive a subsidy up to $30/month or $75/month on Tribal lands for high-speed internet service, which means they can access many of our home and mobile plans for free.
To date, almost 18 million American households have signed up for the program. However, current projections show that ACP funding could run out as soon as the first quarter of 2024. We believe Congress needs to develop a plan to keep the ACP program funded while also developing long-term reforms to current broadband subsidy programs to ensure they operate efficiently, avoid duplication, and target funding to those who need it most.