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Rosenworcel Warns ACP Notices May Go Out While Lawmakers Are 'at Home'

FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel re-emphasized the potential impact of affordable connectivity program funding exhaustion in letters Tuesday to Senate Commerce Committee Chair Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., Senate Appropriations Financial Services Subcommittee Chairman Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., and other congressional leaders. Cantwell…

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and other lawmakers are eyeing ways they can allocate stopgap funding that would keep ACP running through the rest of FY 2024. Congress approved the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act minibus spending bill last month without that money (see 2403280001). Rosenworcel warned lawmakers Tuesday that notices from the Universal Service Administrative Co. and ISPs warning participants that April would be the last month of a full ACP subsidy may be sent when many committee members "are at home in their districts and hearing from their constituents about the benefits of the ACP.” She attached data to each letter outlining “the number of enrolled ACP households in each state, territory, and congressional district.” Press reports about ACP participants’ reactions to the program’s potential end “echo" what the commission has heard "from ACP households directly, with many writing the agency to express their distress and fear that ending this program could lead them to lose access to the internet at home,” Rosenworcel said. “In what is perverse, both rural and Tribal communities will likely see new broadband deployment in remote areas” via funding from the 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, “but persistent challenges with cost -- absent the ACP -- may limit the ability of this investment to close the digital divide.” The FCC “remains ready to keep this program running, should Congress provide additional funding,” she said: “We have come too far to allow this successful effort to promote internet access for all to end.”