April 24, 2024

Media, PA – Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon (PA-05) today convened a roundtable of local leaders to discuss the positive impact of the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) on PA-05 households and the importance of extending this program. The future of the program is currently uncertain as funding runs out at the end of the month. Without an extension, 43,000 PA-05 households are at risk of skyrocketing broadband costs or losing high-speed internet access altogether. To ensure Pennsylvania families don’t lose access to this critical service, Rep. Scanlon is supporting Rep. Yvette D. Clarke’s (NY-09) discharge petition that would force a vote to extend the Affordable Connectivity Program on the House floor. “The Affordable Connectivity Program isn’t just about improving access to the internet, it’s about improving access to economic opportunity,” said Rep. Scanlon. “This program has brought much needed attention to the fact that access to the Internet is not just an issue for rural America.  Without action to extend this program, many in our community will see their internet costs increase or lose access to high-speed internet altogether.”

Local leaders that participated in the roundtable include:

  • Colleen Duran – Executive Director, Delaware County Literacy Council
  • Kate Rivera – Executive Director, Technology Learning Collaborative
  • Dawn Hannah – Chief Program & Impact Officer, Beyond Literacy
  • Kieran Farrell – Student Support Director, Beyond Literacy
  • Sandra Speight – ACP Beneficiary, Southwest Philadelphia Resident
  • Dr. Joseph Meloche – Superintendent, Rose Tree Media School District
  • Anny Laepple – Director, Library Services System & District Administrator, Delaware County Library System
  • Sandra Samuel – Library Director, Media-Upper Providence Free Library
  • Maggie Burns – Special Project Manager, Chester Education Foundation
  • Caitlin Ganley – Senior Director of Government & Regulatory Affairs, Comcast

“Robust broadband access opens new pathways to employment and educational opportunities, as well as fuller participation in society for those struggling with literacy challenges,” said Colleen Duran, Executive Director of the Delaware County Literacy Council (DCLC). “The Affordable Connectivity Program is a game-changer for our mission of empowering adults through literacy. Access to affordable high-speed internet is essential for adult learners working to improve their literacy skills. The Affordable Connectivity Program provides a vital lifeline, making broadband service much more affordable for low-income households. With subsidized internet, adult students can take advantage of DCLC’s high-quality online learning resources, connect with instructors remotely, and access a world of information to build their employability through literacy and digital skills.”

“TLC is thankful for Congresswoman Scanlon for organizing today’s conversation and for her work to highlight the importance of the ACP,” said Kate Rivera, Executive Director of Technology Learning Collaborative. “Access and affordability are two of the biggest barriers to getting people online, and at a time when the federal government is making historic investments in expanding broadband infrastructure it is critically important that the ACP continues to address the affordability barrier. Congress must act now to fund the ACP and support the hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvania households that rely on this program to afford their internet service.”

“Having home internet connection is foundational to the work we do at Beyond Literacy,” said Kimmel Proctor, CEO of Beyond Literacy. “In fact, digital literacy has become a prerequisite for us to teach adult education and workforce upskilling classes. 80 percent of our learners prefer to attend class remotely. As a result, it is vital that Congress and the White House act to continue to fund the Affordable Connectivity Program. If they don’t, then adult learners like those we serve, and at similar organizations all across the country, risk falling behind.”

“Comcast’s dedication to bridging the digital divide began in 2011 with the launch of Internet Essentials and remains one of our highest priorities,” said Stephanie Kosta, Vice President of Government Affairs for Comcast’s Freedom Region. “Through the program and Project UP, our $1 billion commitment to digital equity, we will continue to do our part and remain open to collaborating with our nonprofit, philanthropic and civic partners to help keep residents online no matter what challenges we may face so that together, we can help build a future of unlimited possibilities.”

Passed under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the Affordable Connectivity Program has helped 23 million qualified households save $30-75 a month on their internet bills. One-in-seven Pennsylvania households, approximately 760,000 households, are currently enrolled in the program. Thanks to the ACP, Pennsylvanians have saved about $22.2 million a month on their internet bills.  

Click here to view the original press release.

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