Spanberger Leads Virginia Lawmakers in Working to Protect $30 Internet Discount for Virginia Families, Fund Affordable Connectivity Program

The “Affordable Connectivity Program” Right Now Helps More than 455,000 Virginia Households Afford High-Speed Internet

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger today led members of the Virginia congressional delegation in a bipartisan effort urging the U.S. House Committee on Appropriations to extend funding for a key discount program that allows more Virginia families to access high-speed internet.

The Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC’s) Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) provides eligible households with a discount of up to $30 per month toward high-speed internet service and up to $75 per month on qualifying tribal lands, including in Virginia. Congress established the ACP as part of the Spanberger-backed Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act — also known as the bipartisan infrastructure law. Right now, the ACP helps more than 455,000 households across the Commonwealth afford high-speed internet.

In a letter sent to U.S. House Committee on Appropriations Chairwoman Kay Granger (R-TX-12) and Ranking Member Rosa DeLauro (D-CT-03), Spanberger and her colleagues called for the appropriators to prioritize extending ACP funding and expressed the critical need the program meets by connecting hundreds of thousands of Virginia households with affordable, high-speed internet. Additionally, the lawmakers underscored the urgency with which funding to extend the ACP must be delivered — as funding for this valuable program is likely to run out by April 2024.

“The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently announced that the ACP will likely run out of funding by April 2024. Earlier this month, the FCC closed its application portal for new applicants,” wrote Spanberger and her colleagues. “If Congress does not act, hundreds of thousands of Virginians and millions of Americans across the country will lose access to this vital program. Especially as we continue to hear concerns from those we represent about the rising cost of living, now is not the time to pull the plug on this crucial assistance to families.”

Their letter continued, “Time is of the essence, as inaction would strip this benefit from hundreds of thousands of Virginians and force families to choose between access to high-speed internet and other necessities.”

The letter was signed by Spanberger and U.S. Representatives Don Beyer (D-VA-08), Gerry Connolly (D-VA-11), Jen Kiggans (R-VA-02), Jennifer McClellan (D-VA-04), Bobby Scott (D-VA-03), and Jennifer Wexton (D-VA-10).

Click here to read their letter, and the full text is below.

As Members of Congress representing constituents across the Commonwealth of Virginia who rely on the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), we are writing to highlight the critical need for an extension of ACP funding.

According to recent data, more than 450,000 households across Virginia – or 14 percent of the Commonwealth – are enrolled in the ACP. The ACP makes it easier for Virginians to afford internet services by providing a $30 monthly credit toward internet bills for eligible households. Congress established the ACP through the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, and families have relied on this program for more than two years.

However, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently announced that the ACP will likely run out of funding by April 2024. Earlier this month, the FCC closed its application portal for new applicants.

If Congress does not act, hundreds of thousands of Virginians and millions of Americans across the country will lose access to this vital program. Especially as we continue to hear concerns from those we represent about the rising cost of living, now is not the time to pull the plug on this crucial assistance to families. As you know, access to broadband is essential for accessing educational resources and telehealth services, fostering economic development, investing in a skilled workforce, and maintaining social connections.

Accordingly, we urge appropriators to prioritize funding for the ACP to ensure that families, regardless of income level, have access to affordable broadband and can thrive in today’s digital landscape. Time is of the essence, as inaction would strip this benefit from hundreds of thousands of Virginians and force families to choose between access to high-speed internet and other necessities.

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