Today, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand visited the Sachem Public Library to announce the Affordable Connectivity Program Extension Act, legislation to provide $7 billion in funding for the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), a federal program that provides financial assistance to low-income households to help them afford high-speed internet. More than 80,000 households on Long Island don’t have a subscription to home broadband services and 1.7 million New York households rely on the ACP for services, but it is set to run out of funding by April. Without additional funding, these families will either be forced to pay full price for internet – an unaffordable option for many – or lose access to broadband services entirely. The legislation would extend funding for the program and ensure that Long Island families can continue to afford the broadband services they need to work remotely, complete online coursework, attend telehealth appointments, and more.
Gillibrand was joined by County Executive Ed Romaine, Assemblyman Joe DeStefano, and New York State Senator Dean Murray.
“Fast, reliable internet is no longer a luxury – it is a necessity for everyday life,” said Senator Gillibrand. “I helped establish the Affordable Connectivity Program as part of President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to make sure families across our state can work remotely, complete online coursework, access telehealth appointments, and more. With funding for this critical program set to run out in just a few months, I’m announcing this legislation to allocate more money for the ACP and help close the digital divide on long Island.”
“I want to sincerely thank Senator Gillibrand for taking the lead and supporting such an important issue. This program is vital to ensuring that millions of low income New Yorkers, who may otherwise not be able to afford to be connected, can have access and connect to broadband service.” – New York State Senator Dean Murray, 3rd District.
“The ACP plays an indispensable role in bridging the digital divide exacerbated by unaffordability. Without additional funding, the impending end of the ACP poses a threat to low-income consumers, telecommunications companies and community organizations alike. Under this program, more than 20 million eligible families have found affordable options for remote work, distance learning, health care and strengthening family connections. Being connected to the internet matters in an increasingly digital society, which is why we must sustain the ACP.”- Assemblyman Joe DeStefano (R,C-Medford)
“We continue to urge Congress to extend the program that has helped connect millions of people. We appreciate Sen. Gillibrand’s support of the program and leadership in trying to find a solution so participants can continue to receive their benefit.” – AT&T Atlantic Region President John Emra
Established in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the ACP lowers the out-of-pocket cost of broadband service and devices for working families. The program provides a monthly discount of up to $30 per month off the cost of Internet service and equipment as well as a one-time discount of up to $100 off a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet. In qualifying rural communities and qualifying Tribal lands, the monthly discount may be up to $75 per month. More information about the Affordable Connectivity Program is available here.