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[Statement] FCC Guidance to Wind Down Affordable Connectivity Program



Photo of Gigi B. Sohn

Today, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued guidance to Internet Service Providers about how they must notify subscribers about the end of the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). The FCC also set February 8, 2024, as the date for new ACP enrollments to cease. The ACP provides a $30 broadband subsidy to low-income households, and a $75 subsidy to households on tribal lands and in high cost areas. The ACP will shut down in April unless Congress appropriates more funding.


Gigi Sohn, Executive Director of AAPB released the following statement:

 

Today’s FCC guidance is a wake-up call to Congress: nearly 23 million US households will lose stable broadband Internet access if it does not act expeditiously to extend the Affordable Connectivity Program. The end of this bipartisan, extraordinarily popular program is nigh, and only Congress can stop it.


The end of the ACP will cause chaos beyond disconnecting tens of millions of Americans from the network that is vital to full participation in modern society. Among other things, it will cause the loss of jobs for those funded by FCC grants to enroll ACP recipients; it will make it harder for smaller ISPs that have relied on the ACP to upgrade their services; and it will undermine the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program by making it more expensive for ISPs to build in rural America.


Just yesterday, a bipartisan, bicameral group of Congress members introduced the Affordable Connectivity Program Extension Act of 2024, a bill that would provide $7 billion to extend funding for ACP through 2024. This would keep low-income, tribal and high cost households connected long enough for Congress and the FCC to find a permanent home for the broadband subsidy. The bill has been endorsed by over 400 federal, state and local officials, civil society and broadband companies large and small. The time for paralysis is over: Congress must pass the ACP Extension Act and save the program.


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