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April 10, 2024



c: 202.913.0126

Washington, D.C. — Today, Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke (NY-09) and Senator Peter Welch (D-VT) are urging their colleagues to pass the bipartisan Affordable Connectivity Program Extension Act now so millions of people who receive health care services via telehealth can keep their access to high-speed affordable internet. The bipartisan Affordable Connectivity Program Extension Act would provide $7 billion for the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), which provides affordable high-speed internet options to qualifying households across America. 

Over 23 million Americans utilize the ACP. The number of Americans who utilize telehealth has increased each year over the past decade, with a 70% surge in use of the service following the COVID-19 pandemic. A December 2023 survey of ACP subscribers reported that 77% of subscribers used the program to schedule or attend health care appointments.  

“Across the nation, patients have turned to telehealth for convenient, affordable care. From young families to rural seniors, these services are invaluable. There should never be cost barriers to necessary care. Yet, with increased demand for telehealth, unaffordable broadband is another roadblock. Congress must pass the Affordable Connectivity Program Extension Act and protect Americans’ access to the care they need for healthy, happy lives,” said Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke.

“Telehealth has revolutionized how people access health care, and its popularity continues to grow among patients and providers alike. The growing availability of telehealth services has made it easier for people to get the care they need, especially for low-income and rural folks who may face long distances or cost barriers in order to see their doctor. But without the Affordable Connectivity Program, millions could lose access to high-speed internet, which is essential for telehealth services. Congress must act quickly to pass the Affordable Connectivity Program Extension Act to ensure that everyone in need of care can continue to access crucial telehealth services,” said Senator Welch.  

The Affordable Connectivity Program Extension Act was introduced by Reps. Clarke and Fitzpatrick who were joined by original cosponsors Reps. Michael Lawler (NY-17), Norma Torres (CA-35), Anthony D’Esposito (NY-04), Debbie Dingell (MI-06), Darren Soto (FL-09), and Marc Molinaro (NY-19). U.S. Senators Peter Welch (D-Vt.), JD Vance (R-Ohio), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), and Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) introduced the legislation’s Senate companion.

The Affordable Connectivity Program Extension Act is supported by over 400 organizations, including: AARP, American Civil Liberties Union, AT&T, Charter, Comcast, Communications Workers of America, Cox Communications, CTIA – The Wireless Association, INCOMPAS, NAACP, NCTA – The Internet & Television Association, NTCA – The Rural Broadband Association, T-Mobile, USTelecom, Verizon, Wireless Infrastructure Association, and WTA – Advocates for Rural Broadband. 

Read more about the bill here and see state-by-state data on the ACP here