April is the Last Fully Funded Month of the Affordable Connectivity Program

The FCC has announced that April 2024 is the last fully funded month of the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). Based on current forecasts, reimbursements for benefits in May will be paid on a reduced pro-rata basis. Providers that choose to provide a benefit in May will only be able to pass through a reduced benefit to households that have opted-in to continue to receive broadband service after the end of the full ACP benefit. The FCC intends to release additional information later this month regarding the reimbursement rates that will be available to providers in May.

As set out in the ACP Wind-Down Order, providers must send a written notice by March 19 alerting ACP households to the impact of the end of the program on their broadband service and bills. Providers must send another notice to ACP households that coincides with the last bill or billing cycle in which the full ACP benefit is applied. These notices must include the date of the last bill on which the full benefit will be applied and the amount that the household will be billed once the full benefit is no longer available or that the household will be subject to the provider’s undiscounted rates and general terms and conditions after the end of the ACP. These consumer notices must also remind ACP households of their right to change their service or opt-out of continuing their service at the end of the ACP.

Providers that intend to claim and pass through a partial benefit to ACP households in May must provide written notice to those households that the benefit applied to the May bill may be less than the full ACP benefit the household has been receiving, and that the household will be subject to the provider’s fully undiscounted rates and general terms and conditions after the last bill that any partial benefit is applied. This information may be included in the other required notices or sent separately. The FCC encourages providers to include information in the customer notices about any provider offerings for lower cost services or low-income programs, and notes that providers may send more information than the required notices to their customers. Required notices must be sent to ACP households in writing and be accessible to persons with disabilities.

Providers will not be required to include information on the ACP in their broadband labels, unless Congress extends the program. The outcome of bills pending in Congress to appropriate additional funding for ACP is uncertain at this time.

For more information about the ACP wind-down, contact an attorney in our Broadband, Spectrum, and Communications Infrastructure practice group.