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Affordable Connectivity Program to Begin "Wind-Down Procedures" with Funds Running Out

Jan. 9, 2024
FCC says "millions of households will lose the ACP benefit that they use to afford internet service."

This week, the FCC said they have begun winding down the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) and are asking for more funds to extend the program. Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel wrote to several members of the Senate and House of Representatives on Monday to request additional funds and make statements on what they say is an urgent need to continue the program to prevent consequences.

The ACP allocations were part of Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill in 2021, with the goal to to provide $14.2 billion to provide discounts on high-speed internet for residences up to $30/month and $100 toward hardware such as laptops to access the internet. There are currently 22.5 million households signed up.

The program has just over $4 billion remaining in its budget, which is only enough to keep the program operational for a few more months, according to the FCC.

"If Congress does not provide additional funding for the ACP in the near future, millions of households will lose the ACP benefit that they use to afford internet service," said Rosenworcel in the letter. "This also means that roughly 1,700 internet service providers will be affected by the termination of the ACP and may cut off service to households no longer supported by the program.

She further stressed the significance of the ACP in the context of the BEAD program, stating that  "…losing the ACP would undermine the historic $42.5 billion Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment Program, for which the ACP supports a stable customer base to help incentivize deployment in rural areas."

The Fiber Broadband Association provided a statement expressing approval of Rosenworcels' letter:

“The Fiber Broadband Association thanks the FCC for alerting Congress with their intent to communicate a wind-down of the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) to industry and households subscribed to the program. This notice will help those currently enrolled navigate their options and should facilitate their continued access to critical broadband service, especially provided over fiber infrastructure. At the same time, ACP should not end as it enables many millions to afford broadband service. We encourage Congress to appropriate funding to continue this program, which has been integral in keeping Americans connected to the internet and allows them to participate in all aspects of the economy and society.”

- Gary Bolton, President & CEO, Fiber Broadband Association”

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