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NaLA Statement on Appropriations Package Passed to Avoid A Government Shutdown

Over the weekend, President Biden signed a $1.2 trillion spending package approved by the Senate and House allocating federal government funding until the fiscal year’s end.

The funding package was passed after months of negotiations between members of Congress and invests in various sectors and services of the government. However, despite the immense bipartisan support it has raised, the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) was ultimately not included in the final appropriations.

Public interest groups, local and state leaders, and more have continuously advocated alongside NaLA for additional funding for the ACP.

The following response can be attributed to David B. Dowart, Chairman of the National Lifeline Association (NaLA):

“For the 23 million low-income households representing an estimated 72 million Americans who depend on the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), today is a day of frustration and worry.

With the ACP weeks away from running out of money, no additional funding was appropriated to keep the program afloat and to keep American families connected each and every month.

As a result, enrolled ACP households will begin to receive FCC-mandated notices next week with a $30 bill increase that they will need to pay to keep their services. For many of these families – nearly half of them military families and more than half of them un- or under-banked, it will be one bill too many. They will lose their internet access, and they will fall further behind without access to many of the things most of us take for granted.

As we move closer to ACP funding exhaust in May, we move ever closer to erasing several years of incredible progress in closing the broadband affordability gap. As the government continues to pump tens of billions of dollars into building networks to predominantly poor and rural places through the BEAD program, it will begin to do so without the ACP which in part was designed to ensure that consumers could afford the services offered over those networks.

Disconnecting millions of families and stranding billions of dollars in infrastructure investment makes no sense. In fact, study after study has found that it’s more expensive to do that than it is to fund the ACP.

NaLA once again joins the astonishingly broad coalition of industry and public interest stakeholders calling on the White House and Democrat and Republican leaders in Congress to act swiftly to ensure that the ACP gets additional funding before it runs out. Internet for all is something upon which nearly everyone agrees. It’s not too late – FUND AND SAVE THE ACP NOW.”

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Glen Echo GroupNaLA Statement on Appropriations Package Passed to Avoid A Government Shutdown

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