Senator Fetterman Proposes Bill to Secure Funding for Critical Internet Access Program

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — To secure uninterrupted internet access for millions of American households, Pennsylvania U.S. Senator John Fetterman today introduced the Promoting Affordable Connectivity Act. This legislation seeks to provide sustainable funding for the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), which expired on April 30 due to a lapse in congressional appropriations. The ACP, vital for over 23 million households nationwide, offers discounts on internet services to families otherwise unable to afford it.

Fetterman’s bill aims to remove the ACP from the annual appropriations process, shielding it from the political gridlock that often characterizes budget negotiations in Congress. Instead, the program would be funded through the Universal Service Fund (USF), a mechanism traditionally used to promote universal access to telecommunications services for all Americans. Fetterman emphasized the necessity of broadband as a fundamental service, not a luxury, underscoring his commitment to ensuring that “families across Pennsylvania and the country have internet access.”

The act proposes a restructuring of USF contributions to finance the ACP, ensuring that the financial burden does not fall on consumers. Broadband and edge service providers, under this new bill, would be responsible for supporting the program. This shift is designed to maintain affordability for users while providing a stable funding stream for the ACP.

The expiration of the ACP has put millions at risk of losing their internet connection, highlighting the program’s importance in bridging the digital divide. With up to $30 per month provided in discounts—often covering the entire cost of monthly internet fees—the ACP has been a critical lifeline for eligible households, including over 700,000 in Pennsylvania alone.

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Senator Fetterman has been vocal about the urgent need to preserve and expand broadband access, advocating for the program’s continuation and improvement. In addition to introducing this bill, Fetterman has utilized various platforms, including op-eds and official correspondence with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), to push for enhanced broadband access and address delays in benefit distribution to eligible households.

This legislative move comes at a crucial time when internet access has become integral to everyday life, enabling everything from remote work and education to telehealth services and social connectivity. By proposing the Promoting Affordable Connectivity Act, Senator Fetterman is taking a significant step towards ensuring that internet access remains available for all Americans, regardless of their economic status. This effort reflects a broader agenda to support communities often overlooked in the digital age, aiming to make tangible improvements in the lives of working people across the nation.

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