Executive Director, Ariane Schmidt, sent signed letters of the below to the offices of Congresswoman McMorris Rodgers, Senator Murray, and Senator Cantwell in our support of a short-term extension of Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) funding to establish a long-term, sustainable structure.

I am writing in support of your ongoing leadership to ensure new infrastructure capacity for high-speed internet and would like to request your consideration of the significant benefit in a short-term extension of the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) funding so that a long term, sustainable structure may be put into place.

As you know, access to the Internet is no longer a luxury; it is a new essential service, some might even call a utility, to bring resiliency and vitality into our households for education, healthcare, remote work, civic engagement, and critical public safety response.

ACP began as a critical and crucial response effort in the pandemic, and since then the digital landscape has shifted so that we now understand the ongoing need to ensure connectivity is required for all in the road ahead. We need the lessons learned from ACP to date to be a part of the total broadband solution framework in both our rural and urban communities alike. In doing so, we are empowering our citizens with the means to thrive in this digital age.

The first step is providing infrastructure to make broadband possible. The next step is to weave affordability into what this new infrastructure can bring to end users through right-sized assistance for eligible and vulnerable populations; like many other supports accessed through the federal departments of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and Health and Human Services (HHS). In fact, the Spokane HUD Entitlement Community Continuum of Care (CoC) yearly consolidated report now includes a required component for strategic broadband initiatives.

Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing about your thoughts for the future of sustainable models to provide affordable internet.