White House making last-ditch effort on Internet subsidy program

by David Shepardson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The White House plans to make a renewed effort in April to persuade Congress to extend an internet subsidy program used by 23 million U.S. households just weeks before the money runs out, officials said. Is.

In October, the White House asked for $6 billion to extend the program through December 2024, but Congress did not fund it, potentially putting millions of households at risk of losing their internet service.

Federal Communications Commission Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel told lawmakers in a letter that April is the last month in which participants will receive the full subsidy, with a partial subsidy in May.

Congress previously allocated $17 billion to help low-income households and people affected by COVID-19 get broadband access through $30-a-month vouchers for internet service.

“We have come too far to allow this successful effort to promote Internet access for all to end,” Rosenworcel said Tuesday. “Despite the breadth of this support and the urgent need to continue this program, no additional funding has yet been allocated to ensure that millions of families across the country do not have essential internet access.”

The FCC halted enrollment for new users on February 8.

The White House says the plan, known as the Affordable Connectivity Program, helps users save more than $500 million a month on their internet bills.

Verizon, Comcast and AT&T have all called on Congress to expand the program.

Bipartisan legislation introduced by Senators Peter Welch, J.D. Vance, Jacky Rosen and Kevin Cramer would provide $7 billion for the program. A bill to fund the program for one year has been introduced in the House and has the support of 216 members.

The FCC cited a survey saying that if the program were ended, more than three-quarters of households in the program would “…

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