Bipartisan Bill Would Save Broadband Discount Service Program for Borough

Bipartisan Bill Would Save Broadband Discount Service Program for Borough

By Forum Staff

Congresswoman Grace Meng (D-Flushing) announced on Thursday that she has co-sponsored bipartisan legislation to save the Affordable Connectivity Program.

The ACP is a crucial initiative that has provided thousands of borough residents with monthly discounts on their broadband service, and savings on internet devices, according to Meng.

The Affordable Connectivity Program Extension Act, introduced by Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-Brooklyn), would provide seven billion dollars in federal funding to support the program, which is set to run out of money as early as this coming April.

Enacted as part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law that Meng helped to pass, the ACP provides qualifying households with a monthly discount of up to $30 on internet bills, as well as a one-time discount of up to $100 on a tablet, laptop, or desktop computer. Since the ACP was launched, over 22.5 million households have signed up to receive the monthly discount. This includes more than 62,000 households in Meng’s congressional district in Queens, saving approximately $27.4 million a year. An estimated 36,000 in her district still qualify for the program but have not yet signed up. Those benefiting nationwide are millions of college students, veterans, seniors, and families with school-aged children.

“Reliable and affordable internet access is a necessity, not a luxury, especially for our students in Queens and across the nation,” Meng said. “As a mother of two school-aged boys, I have experienced firsthand how important internet access can be, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic when school transitioned online. As funding for the Affordable Connectivity Program expires, I am proud to help lead the fight to keep it alive, and join Rep. Clarke’s bill so that students in our borough and across the country have access to the tools they need to succeed.”

In addition to cosponsoring the legislation, Meng last year signed several letters urging Congressional leadership and relevant committees to extend anywhere from $6 to $7 billion for the Affordable Connectivity Program.

“From students and educators to older Americans and veterans, nearly 1.8 million New Yorkers rely on the Affordable Connectivity Program monthly – and Congress has a responsibility to ensure they maintain their access to low-cost, reliable, and high-speed broadband,” Clarke said. “The bipartisan, bicameral Affordable Connectivity Program Extension Act provides the funding necessary to ensure this transformative program continues to help close the digital divide for communities of color, urban and rural families, and so many more underserved Americans. I’m thankful for Congresswoman Meng’s advocacy and efforts in this space, and I look forward to working at her side to preserve and extend this critical program.”

The Affordable Connectivity Program Extension Act is supported by more than 350 organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU); American Library Association; Asian Americans Advancing Justice – AAJC; Benton Institute for Broadband & Society; Central New York Digital Inclusion Coalition; Community Tech New York (CTNY); EducationSuperHighway; NAACP; National Association of Counties; National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors (NATOA); National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA); National Digital Equity Center; National Digital Inclusion Alliance; National League of Cities; NCTA – the Internet & Cable Association; Neighborhood Allies; NTCA – the Rural Broadband Association; the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights; and the New York Public Library.


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