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AARP Continues Push to Save Affordable Connectivity Program

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En español | Millions of people across the country may lose internet access next month when federal funding runs out for the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). But AARP continues its fight to keep the internet discount program going.

We wrote to congressional lawmakers last week urging them to include the ACP as part of legislation that would restore the federal government’s ability to auction the rights to radio frequencies to commercial entities.

Proceeds from these auctions have raised billions for the U.S. Treasury since 1994, but Congress may also earmark funding for specific federal programs.

The Federal Communications Commission’s authority to hold “broadband spectrum” auctions expired last year. But if legislation passes to reinstate it, AARP wants to see some of the proceeds from these sales earmarked for the ACP.

“For older adults living on low and fixed incomes, ACP unlocks vast benefits, including caregiving, access to health care and governmental services, economic opportunities and social connections to stave off harmful isolation,” wrote Bill Sweeney, AARP senior vice president for government affairs.

The ACP provides federally funded internet discounts of up to $30 a month for qualifying lower-income households, or up to $75 for those living on tribal lands.

The loss of those discounts “would be devastating for those who need affordable broadband,” Sweeney wrote. Nearly half of the households taking advantage of the program are headed by someone 50 or older.

AARP continues to push federal lawmakers to pass the Affordable Connectivity Extension Act of 2024, which would steer around $7 billion to continue the ACP without disruption. But time is running out to approve that legislation, which has been stalled in Congress.

AARP has long championed the need for affordable high-speed internet for older adults, and has worked to close the digital divide. For example, we’ve held tele-town halls to raise awareness about federal resources, advocated for funding for states to upgrade their broadband infrastructure, and worked with the National Digital Inclusion Alliance to release a playbook that can help states implement digital equity plans.

Read our letter and learn more about the federal government’s winding down of the ACP.

Also of Interest:

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How Fast Does Your Internet Need to Be?
How to Find a Cheap Internet Plan

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