City Leaders Call for Continued Federal Aid for Broadband Access

Published on April 01, 2024

With Affordable Connectivity Program sunsetting, trio of city elected leaders say 42% of city residents rely on federal help to afford reliable high-speed internet access

As time runs out on a federal program to help households pay for high-speed internet access, Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh, Common Council President Helen Hudson, and City Auditor Alexander Marion issued a joint letter to Syracuse’s congressional delegation today calling for action in Washington.

In the message to Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, and Congressman Brandon Williams, the city elected leaders credited the federal government with helping Syracuse make significant progress in overcoming the digital divide. They warned, however, that the Federal Communications Commission has reported that funding for the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) will be exhausted in April. 42% of Syracuse families rely on ACP assistance to make at-home broadband service accessible.

“Just like food and housing assistance programs, communities like Syracuse need sustainable federal policies and programs for internet assistance. We are asking for your urgent intervention on behalf of people in Syracuse and across the United States to fund the continuation of the ACP program or establish a new initiative to close the internet affordability gap that negatively impacts communities like ours,” Walsh, Hudson, and Marion said in the letter. “Without it, we risk going back in time and destabilizing individuals and families who need affordable connectivity to thrive in the digital age of today and tomorrow.”

With the end of ACP, Syracuse’s new municipal broadband program for underserved residents, Surge Link, will introduce a $10 monthly fee for all subscribers to cover the cost of service. Surge Link is expected to be the most affordable internet option in the city. The remaining monthly internet cost will be covered by a city subsidy funded by the American Rescue Plan Act.

A copy of the joint letter from Walsh, Hudson, and Marion is available here.