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A federal program that gave eligible households high-speed internet access is winding down

A pair of hands is shown typing on a laptop keyboard.
Glenn Carstens-Peters
Millions of households were able to access high-speed internet for the first time thanks to subsidies provided by the Affordable Connectivity Program. But the federal program is slated to wind down at the end of April

Millions of households across the country, including in the Mountain West region, could soon lose internet access. That’s if Congress does not extend funding for a subsidy program.

The Affordable Connectivity Program provides a $30 subsidy for eligible broadband users and up to $75 for households on Tribal lands. But the funding runs out at the end of April.

Jon Donenberg with the National Economic Council said the program has a direct effect on disenfranchised households.

“Twenty-three million households are enrolled, that’s 1 in every 6 households," he said. "Nearly half of those are military families, about a quarter are seniors. It’s the largest internet affordability program in our nation’s history and it really matters.”

The Biden administration has proposed allocating $6 billion to fund the program through the end of the year. GOP lawmakers who oppose more funding say the subsidies are an unnecessary expense for taxpayers and it will be difficult to enforce eligibility.

The program subsidizes more than 275,000 households in Nevada, more than 250,000 in Colorado, more than 75,000 in Utah, more than 185,000 in New Mexico, more than 50,000 in Idaho, and more than 20,000 in Wyoming.

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Nevada Public Radio (KNPR) in Las Vegas, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUNR in Nevada, KUNC in Colorado and KANW in New Mexico, with support from affiliate stations across the region. Funding for the Mountain West News Bureau is provided in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Yvette Fernandez is the regional reporter for the Mountain West News Bureau. She joined Nevada Public Radio in September 2021.

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