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AARP Backs Bill to Extend Funding for Internet Discounts

Woman learning to book appointment from caregiver
Klaus Vedfelt/Getty Images

En español | Millions of older Americans receive federally funded discounts for high-speed internet, and AARP wants to ensure that support continues.

We wrote to congressional lawmakers this week in favor of the the Affordable Connectivity Extension Act of 2024. This new legislation would provide $7 billion in funding to ensure the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), which provides high-speed internet discounts, will continue past April. That’s when the project’s funding is predicted to run out.

The program has helped more than 22 million lower-income households afford high-speed internet. Congress approved the ACP in 2021 as part of the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

“Everyone should have access to affordable, high-speed internet,” wrote Bill Sweeney, AARP senior vice president for government affairs, in Jan. 9 letters to the bill’s House and Senate sponsors.

The ACP provides internet discounts of up to $30 a month for qualifying households, or up to $75 for those living on tribal lands. Nearly half of the households taking advantage of the program are headed by someone 50 or older.

The White House has requested $6 billion to keep the program going through December. The Federal Communications Commission, which administers the program, told federal lawmakers that unless additional funding is approved, it will begin winding down the program this week.

Ending the program would mean millions of older Americans would lose access to affordable internet services, our letters said.

“Your legislation will prevent this disruption in high-speed internet service” and would ensure that federally funded projects to upgrade broadband infrastructure in states around the country “can reach as many customers as possible,” Sweeney wrote.

AARP has long championed the need for affordable high-speed internet to help older adults access needed services such as telehealth appointments with doctors and to stay connected with friends and loved ones. We’ve worked to raise awareness about ACP discounts and other federal resources.

Read our letters to the House and Senate and learn more about the ACP program. Visit Senior Planet from AARP’s website to find out if you qualify for ACP discounts and to enroll in a class to help you apply.

Natalie Missakian covers federal and state policy and writes AARP’s Fighting for You Every Day blog. She previously worked as a reporter for the New Haven Register and daily newspapers in Ohio. Her work has also appeared in the AARP Bulletin, the Hartford Business Journal and other publications.

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