US lawmakers propose $7 billion in funding to extend FCC internet.
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US lawmakers propose $7 billion in funding to extend FCC internet.
Congress is mobilizing to prevent sudden price hikes on internet bills for millions of Americans, announcing new legislation to save a popular government program about to run out of funding.

A previously unreported bipartisan bill expected Wednesday in both chambers of Congress would allocate $7 billion in additional funding for the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), or $1 billion more than the White House proposed last year.

Low-income households are eligible for a monthly discount of $30 on internet service, while tribal households are eligible for a discount of $75 on internet service.

According to the Tech Policy Institute, a Washington think tank, the ACP has seen particularly significant uptake in states such as California, Kentucky, North Carolina, and Ohio. At least six in ten households qualify for this program in every one of those states.

In order to register and serve households that earn less than 200% of the federal poverty guidelines, the ACP works with internet service providers.

A household may qualify if any member is participating in another federal aid program such as Medicaid, SNAP, or school lunch programs; certain tribal assistance programs; or receiving a Veterans Pension or Veterans Survivors Pension.

ACP currently serves nearly 23 million homes, according to the Federal Communications Commission, which warned on Monday it would be forced to wind down the program this week without an extension from Congress.

As a result of rising enrollment and strong demand for benefits, the ACP’s $14 billion budget will run out by the end of April without congressional intervention. It is estimated that 25 million homes will lose internet access by that time, or equivalent to 64 million people, according to US Census Bureau estimates of household size.