Jack Walker Published

More Than 127,000 W.Va. Households Could Lose Internet Access Unless Congress Allocates Funding

Cell phone or mobile service tower in forested area of West Virginia providing broadband service.
The Affordable Connectivity Program provides broadband internet access to roughly 23 million households nationwide, including more than 127,000 in West Virginia.
steheap/Adobe Stock

Without further funding from the United States Congress, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) officials warn that more than 127,000 West Virginia households could lose internet access.

The users at risk are those served by the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), which provides discounted broadband internet to low-income households nationwide. Across the country, roughly 23 million households depend on the program.

“The Affordable Connectivity Program is connecting millions and millions of households across the country,” FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said in a Thursday press release. The FCC oversees the ACP and works with its users nationwide.

“The bipartisan infrastructure law created this program, our largest-ever effort to make broadband affordable nationwide, but we now are on the brink of letting that success slip away,” Rosenworcel said.

Congress has only approved enough ACP funding to last with full support through April, and with partial support through May. Without additional funding, the program will be unable to accept new applicants in just one week, according to the press release.

Last month, a bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers introduced the Affordable Connectivity Program Extension Act, which would allocate a new $7 billion to the ACP.

Until any additional funding is secured, program officials said they must continue with closure protocols to ensure users are aware of the risk ahead.

“Disconnecting millions of families from their jobs, schools, markets and information is not the solution,” Rosenworcel said. “We have come too far with the ACP to turn back.”