Biden Administration Calling for Rural Internet Funding

A rural internet subsidy program could be phased out. Tom Perez, Senior Advisor to the President, says the Biden Administration requested six billion dollars to extend funding for the Affordable Connectivity Program back in October. The subsidy helps reduce high-speed internet plans by 30 to 75 dollars a month.

If Congress does not take action, Perez says it will not have enough funding to continue helping the nearly 23 million households using it.

“To give you some perspective, more households participate in the Affordable Connectivity program, at this point, than participate in the SNAP Program. Both are essential parts of the social safety net and must continue to be essential parts in our social safety net and must continue to be essential parts of our social safety net.”

The Federal Communications Commission says the subsidy will sunset in a few months without funding. As part of that, Paloma Perez with the FCC says, as of this week, the Affordable Connectivity Program will no longer accept new enrollments.

“We are in the middle of an outreach effort to make sure that all households are aware of a potential loss of benefit and many providers are already being required to send out their initial notice to consumers who may be impacted.”

Paloma Perez says affordable, reliable internet is critical for rural Americans. It’s how they get education, health care, and, of course, use precision agriculture.

“Millions and millions of households across the country. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law created this program, our largest-ever effort to make broadband affordable nationwide. But now we are on the brink of letting that success potentially slip away, disconnecting millions of families from their jobs, schools, markets, and information is not a solution. And we’ve come too far to turn back now.”

Tom Perez says the Biden Administration wants to provide access to affordable high-speed internet to all Americans by the end of the decade and is pushing for 90 billion dollars in the Investing in America Agenda.

“For President Biden, the internet is like water. It’s an essential public necessity that should be affordable and accessible to everyone.”