Senator Reverend Warnock pushed Federal Communications Commission nominees on how the commission can best ensure all qualified Georgians can access broadband internet through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP)
Senator Reverend Warnock was instrumental in creating the ACP, which has helped over 600,000 Georgians afford internet access
Those who meet the ACP’s criteria are eligible to receive monthly discounts on internet services and discounts on laptops, tablets, and desktop computers
More than three million low-income households in Georgia are eligible for the ACP program
WATCH: Senator Reverend Warnock reaffirms the importance of affordable internet connectivity programs to FCC nominees
Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock (D-GA), a member of the U.S. Senate Commerce committee, pushed Federal Communications Commission (FCC) nominees on how the commission can work to ensure Georgians of all income levels are able to afford internet access. The Senator told nominees that, as hundreds of millions of dollars are going to expand broadband to the nearly 15% of Georgians who don’t have reliable access, there needs to be an equal effort to ensure Georgians will be able to afford internet connection. While 600,000 Georgians have benefited from the Affordable Connectivity Program, that is only a fraction of the estimated three million low-income households in Georgia who are eligible to apply to the program.
The Senator’s remarks were made during today’s Commerce committee hearing which considered the nominations of Fara Damelin to be FCC Inspector General, and Brendan Carr, Anna Gomez, and Geoffrey Starks to be FCC Commissioners. During the hearing, Carr endorsed the Senator’s bipartisan Promoting Precision Agriculture Act, telling the Senator, “I just separately want to thank you for your work, including on rural broadband issues. You have a precision agriculture legislation with Senator Thune that I think is a really smart initiative and can make a difference here.”
“The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s broadband infrastructure investments have put the United States on the cusp of finally, finally beginning to close the digital divide,” said Senator Reverend Warnock to FCC nominees.“But broadband infrastructure is just half of the equation. Without dedicated efforts on digital equity and affordability, we still risk leaving millions of Americans unable to access the internet…We need an all hands on deck approach. Broadband is to the 21st century what electrification was to the 20th century. We’ve got to make sure that people aren’t left behind.”
Senator Warnock is a champion for bringing robust federal investments in broadband access to Georgians across the state. At the beginning of December, Senator Warnock announced $250 million in American Rescue Plan funding will be invested in expanding and improving Georgians’ broadband access. He has secured more than $570 million in federal funding to bolster Georgia’s broadband infrastructure. Last year, Senator Warnock hosted FCC Chair Rosenworcel in Jackson County where he took her to meet directly with parents, students, and local officials about their broadband needs and the challenges they face. He also received a commitment from Rosenworcel to connect every Georgian to affordable and reliable broadband. Finally, the Senator has led the entire Georgia delegation in ensuring every dollar possible of federal broadband funding comes to Georgia through accurate broadband mapping.
Watch video of the Senator’s full remarks HERE.
Read key excerpts of the Senator’s remarks below:
“The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s broadband infrastructure investments have put the United States on the cusp of finally, finally beginning to close the digital divide. But broadband infrastructure is just half of the equation. Without dedicated efforts on digital equity and affordability, we still risk leaving millions of Americans unable to access the internet, which means they’re disconnected from school, disconnected from health care, and the modern world. One of the hallmarks of digital equity and affordability is the FCC’s affordable connectivity program, which has helped over 18 million Americans and over 600,000 Georgians afford essential internet service through ACP, the affordable connectivity program. This is a great start but there are over 51 million Americans that qualify for the ACP. So clearly, much more work needs to be done.”
“We need an all hands on deck approach. Broadband is to the 21st century what electrification was to the 20th century. We’ve got to make sure that people aren’t left behind.”