Sunday, January 23, 2022

FCC launches $14.2 billion Affordable Connectivity Program

The FCC published final rules for the Affordable Connectivity Program, which builds upon the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program (EBB Program), to offer eligible low-income households discounts off the cost of broadband service and connected devices.

The Affordable Connectivity Program reduces the monthly standard benefit from $50 to $30 (up to $75 if on Tribal land). Moreover, the ACP application adjusts the income threshold from 135% to 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines,  and adds Special Supplemental Nutritional Program for Woman, Infants, and Children (WIC) as a qualifying program, as required by the Infrastructure Act.   Systems were also adjusted to prevent providers with an approved alternative verification process from indicating that households that these providers were enrolling in the Affordable Connectivity Program were qualified based on substantial loss of income since February 29, 2020, or on a provider’s COVID-19 program, which was also eliminated by the Infrastructure Act.  

FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel states: "It was a little less than a year ago when the Federal Communications Commission did something truly historic.  It set up the largest-ever broadband affordability program in the United States—the Emergency Broadband Benefit.  It was a short-term effort designed to help households struggling in the pandemic get high-speed Internet access at home.  And thanks to this program, more than nine million were able to do so. Today, the agency makes history again.  We put in place a long-term effort to keep households everywhere connected—the Affordable Connectivity Program.  This $14.2 billion investment, a byproduct of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, is the biggest program we have ever had to help ensure that every family can afford the broadband that is now essential for full participation in modern life."