The Affordable Connectivity Program (“ACP”) is a 14.2 billion dollar program intended to help low-income households afford essential broadband services. This program provides consumers $30 a month to apply to their broadband bill. One of the main advantages of the ACP is that consumers can apply the benefit to any of a participating service provider’s services, enabling them to choose the best broadband service for their household needs.
Under the Federal Communications Commission’s (“FCC”) rules all participating providers must allow consumers to apply their ACP benefit to any of their service offerings by April 15, 2022. However, some providers are seeking to push this date back to mid-June or much later.
In response, Next Century Cities and other public interest allies filed comments with the FCC urging the agency to ask the petitioning providers for demonstrable evidence of their inability to comply in a timely manner. If a request is based on necessity and not convenience, providers should be allowed a limited, reasonable amount of time to make the transition. The comments also request that the FCC require providers seeking time extensions to notify new and existing ACP customers if granted. Specifically, consumers should be informed of the new date on which their provider will be in compliance with ACP rules.
The ACP was designed to empower consumers with the ability to choose the best service plan for their household’s needs. If the Commission grants extensions for compliance with this requirement, it delays opportunities for consumers in need to get connected. However, if an extension is necessary, providers should be required to notify their current customers, giving potential ACP recipients to explore service options with another provider.
Read the full filing here.