Sen. Peters calls on Congress to extend funding for internet affordability

Sen. Gary Peters (D-Michigan) speaks at a US Senate committee meeting on May 10, 2022. (AP Photo/Mariam Zuhaib)

By Michigan Advance

October 24, 2023

BY KYLE DAVIDSON, MICHIGAN ADVANCE

MICHIGAN—US Sen. Gary Peters (D-Michigan) has joined 31 other U.S. senators calling on Congress to extend funding for the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) which provides financial assistance for high-speed internet access to more than 21 million families across the country, including more than 800,000 families in Michigan.

The program was created through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to lower the out-of-pocket cost of broadband service and devices for working families. It provides a discount of up to $30 per month off the cost of internet service and equipment alongside a one-time discount of up to $100 off a laptop, desktop computer or tablet.

In qualifying rural communities and tribal lands, the discount may be up to $75 a month.

According to a Thursday letter to congressional leaders signed by Peters and other senators, funding for the program could be depleted in a few months at the current rate of program usage, several years ahead of the initial target date outlined in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

“Should ACP funding not be extended, millions of Americans could be at risk of losing access to broadband. We would take significant steps backward in the progress we’ve already made to connect more Americans to the internet through additional federal broadband investments,” the letter reads.

“In just the last 6 months, we’ve invested billions of dollars to build out critical infrastructure, making sure the most rural areas of our country have access to broadband services. The ACP ensures families can now afford those services. We cannot let them face a connectivity cliff by letting this program run out of money with no future assistance,” it reads.

In the past year, Peters has announced multiple avenues for federal funding aimed at improving access to improve internet access in Michigan. In June, Peters announced Michigan would receive more than $1.5 billion in federal funding from the Broadband, Equity, Access, and Deployment Program, which is also funded through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration also awarded more than $61 million in federal funds for the Peninsula Fiber Network which will place 535 miles of new broadband fiber, bring high-speed internet access to over 35,000 homes in rural counties in Michigan and increase the resiliency and reliability of internet infrastructure across the state.

This coverage was republished from Michigan Advance pursuant to a Creative Commons license.

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CATEGORIES: INFRASTRUCTURE

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