Tuesday, January 16, 2024

Governor Cooper Urges Congressional Leaders to Support the Bipartisan Affordable Connectivity Extension Act 877,255 N.C. Households Rely on the Affordable Connectivity Program to Get Internet Service and Stay Connected

Governor Roy Cooper today urged Congressional leaders to support the bipartisan Affordable Connectivity Extension Act.
Jan 16, 2024

Governor Roy Cooper today urged Congressional leaders to support the bipartisan Affordable Connectivity Extension Act. This legislation will provide $7 billion to continue the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) and ensure millions of low-income U.S. households stay connected to reliable high-speed internet when current funding is projected to end in mid-2024.

The program is currently funded by $14.2 billion from the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) that provides eligible households a monthly discount on high-speed internet service of up to $30 per month (up to $75 per month for households on qualifying tribal lands) and a one-time $100 discount toward a laptop, desktop computer or tablet. 

“Affordability is essential to the widespread adoption of high-speed internet, and North Carolina is one of the top states in Affordable Connectivity Program enrollment,” said Governor Cooper. “I urge Congress to extend this vital program to help make sure that everyone has access to high-speed internet for medical care, education, work and other necessities of life.”

Without Congressional action, 22.6 million U.S. households will see a significant spike in their internet bill and potentially lose service entirely. In North Carolina, 877,255 households rely on the ACP to help afford internet service. According to Universal Service Administrative Co. data from November 2023, the following N.C. counties with the highest ACP enrollments would be most affected: Mecklenburg (77,246), Guilford (54,137), Wake (53,970), Cumberland (43,527), Forsyth (38,662), Gaston (24,500), Durham (24,036), Robeson (21,746), Buncombe (20,466) and New Hanover (18,432).

“We must address the high costs of internet service as our state continues to leverage historic federal investments in broadband infrastructure, so North Carolinians do not have to choose between the internet and other necessities,” said N.C. Department of Information Technology Secretary and State Chief Information Officer Jim Weaver.

Since its launch, the ACP has significantly impacted broadband adoption in every state. It benefits households in both urban and rural America and has received broad bipartisan support.

Governor Cooper sent a letter in partnership with Gov. Spencer Cox (R-Utah) and co-signed by 24 other governors from across the nation, calling on Congress to continue funding this essential program in November in addition to a previous letter sent to members of North Carolina’s Congressional Delegation.

For more information about the ACP, Governor Cooper’s plan to close the digital divide in North Carolina and the N.C. Department of Information Technology’s Division of Broadband and Digital Equity, visit ncbroadband.gov.


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