Affordable Connectivity Program

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In our client publication dated January 12, 2024, we informed you of the possibility that the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) may be ending in the very near future. The FCC projects that without the authorization of additional funding from Congress the previously authorized funding for the ACP will be exhausted by April 2024. The Biden Administration’s request for additional funding is still pending in Congress as is a bicameral, bipartisan Bill entitled the Affordable Connectivity Program Extension Act which would provide an additional $7 billion of additional ACP funding. In recent weeks FCC Chairwoman Rosenworcel and Commissioners Starks and Gomez have urged Congress to take action to extend the ACP.

Certain key dates have already passed since our January 12, 2024, Client Bulletin. ACP participants were required to notify customers of the possible end of the ACP and the potential impact on their monthly bill by no later than January 25, 2024. Two additional customer notices are required and are discussed below. In addition to the initial customer notice, new subscriber and provider enrollments to the ACP were suspended as of February 7, 2024. Providers are no longer required to advertise the availability of the ACP effective February 8, 2024.

The FCC will announce the upcoming end of the ACP approximately 60 days before the end of the last fully funded month which is expected to be April 2024. Based on this expectation, the announcement will come later this month. Providers must issue a second customer notice within 15 days of FCC’s announcement. A third customer notice is required to coincide with the final customer bill that reflects the ACP discount. The second and third customer notices must reiterate that the program is ending and include the date of the last bill reflecting the full ACP discount and the amount the customer will be billed for their selected service once the discount is no longer available. Also the second and third notices must inform ACP subscribers of their option to change to a lower priced service or to discontinue service completely. An affirmative opt-in is required by subscribers electing to continue service after the end of the ACP.

This is a very fluid situation and the dates listed above are subject to change, especially if Congress enacts legislation to provide additional ACP funding. We will continue to monitor this issue and will provide updates as more information becomes available.

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