FCC Adopts Final Rule for the Affordable Connectivity Program
On January 21, 2022, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released a Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking adopting the final rule for the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). The ACP replaces the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) Program. The final rules include notes on benefits for covered services and devices, household eligibility requirements, the program’s budget and reimbursement, among other regulatory aspects of the ACP.
The Affordable Connectivity Program is an FCC benefit program that helps ensure that households can afford necessary broadband for everyday life. The ACP provides a discount of up to $30 per month toward internet service for eligible households and up to $75 per month for households on Tribal lands. Eligible households may also receive a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase an electronic device such as a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from a participating provider (if they contribute more than $10 and less than $50 toward the purchase price). The ACP is limited to one monthly service discount and one device discount per household.
The ACP builds on the EBB Program by using new funding to provide discounted broadband service and connected devices to low-income households. The ACP includes changes in benefit amounts, rules regarding plan and subscriber eligibility, and providers’ public promotion obligations. Among other changes, it is important to note that COVID loss of income is no longer a valid criterion. To see all of the relevant recent changes, please refer to AIPI’s blog post titled “The FCC's Affordable Connectivity Program.”
The ACP will help ensure that households can afford the broadband they need for work, school, healthcare and more through discounts on the cost of broadband services and certain connected devices. The final rules include a discussion on household benefits for covered services and devices, the program’s budget and reimbursement, eligibility requirements and other administrative aspects of the ACP. The FCC opened enrollment for the ACP on December 31, 2021. To learn more, please visit www.fcc.gov/ACP.