FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel has released a draft Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that, if adopted, would establish the rules for the $14.2 billion Affordable Connectivity Program, pursuant to congressional directives in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021. According to the FCC, the Affordable Connectivity Program would provide eligible households with discounts of up to $30 a month for broadband service, and up to $75 a month if the household is on Tribal lands. It also would provide a one-time discount of up to $100 on a computer or tablet for eligible households, as directed under the law, the agency said..
“The past two years have made totally clear that broadband is no longer a luxury, it’s a necessity,” said Rosenworcel said. “The response to the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program, with over 9 million households enrolled in less than eight months, proved what many of us knew to be true: There are simply too many people across the country struggling to pay for high-speed internet service. Now with tens of thousands already coming into the just-launched Affordable Connectivity Program, it’s clear that the need for support continues. Given the importance of this program to consumers, I made public the draft for our newest broadband affordability program to invite feedback. We know that programs meant to help the most vulnerable consumers benefit greatly from public input.
Rosenworcel said that Congress gave the FCC a short window to stand up the Affordable Connectivity Program.
“Working with a hyper-accelerated schedule during the holidays, we’ve proven that we are up to the task with this draft,” she said. “We faced similar circumstances creating the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program and met our statutory deadlines. So, I look forward to working with my colleagues to do the same with this new program. I know we can get this done.”