The internet is something most of us use every day, but it's not free — and the cost of home internet can be a burden for some low-income families.
The Biden administration is celebrating a new milestone in their effort to close the digital divide: more than 23 million households enrolled in the Affordable Connectivity Program.
"This program started just a little over two years ago, that's more people than are using the SNAP program, which has been around for decades, and they get anywhere from $30 to $75 a month in subsidy," explained Tom Perez, the director of the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs.
But starting today, enrollment in the Affordable Connectivity Program is closed to new families because the ACP is about to run out of funding. The White House asked Congress for an additional $6 billion to keep the program afloat through this year.
"Almost half of the households who participate are military households, roughly a quarter are African American, roughly a quarter are Latino and all of them are in dire need of making sure that they have a tool, high-speed internet, that enables them to get access to health care, enables their kids to go to school, enables them if they're small business owners to grow that business," said Perez.
The Federal Communications Commission, which administers the ACP, estimates it will run out of money in April, so the monthly subsidy would have to end for those 23 million households.
Some members of Congress are talking about ways to get more Americans affordable internet access, but some lawmakers have concerns about the ACP's management and who is benefiting from the monthly discount. And with Congress still working on major issues like immigration and the federal budget, it's unlikely that new funding for internet access will be approved in the next few months.
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