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FCC Adopts Order to Provide Up to $75 Mon Subsiby For Consumers Living In Qualifying High-Cost Areas

Implements Infrastructure Act’s Requirements to Target Funding to Eligible Consumers Living in Hard to Serve Areas

The Federal Communications Commission today adopted an order to provide an up-to-$75 monthly broadband benefit for subscribers living in qualifying high-cost areas through the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), as directed by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (Infrastructure Act). The Infrastructure Act specified that the $75 monthly benefit would support providers that can demonstrate that the standard $30 monthly benefit would cause them to experience “particularized economic hardship” such that they would be unable to maintain part or all of their broadband network in a high-cost area. Congress separately directed the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), in consultation with the Commission, to identify the high-cost areas that would be eligible for the enhanced ACP high-cost area benefit.

The Report and Order is expected to incentivize providers to participate in the ACP or remain in the ACP in rural and insular areas, further narrowing the digital divide. The high-cost area benefit supports other federal initiatives, including those in the Infrastructure Act, to spur deployment and adoption in rural areas by strengthening the business case for providers to deploy broadband in rural and insular areas.

What the Order Does:

  • Adopts rules to implement the up-to-$75 monthly ACP benefit in high-cost areas, as defined by NTIA and as required by the Infrastructure Act.

  • Defines “particularized economic hardship” and establishes the showing that ACP providers must make to demonstrate they are experiencing a particularized economic hardship in a high-cost area.

  • Sets the processes for reviewing and making determinations on providers’ economic hardship submissions, and appealing those determinations.

  • Creates a requirement for providers that are approved to offer the high-cost area benefit to annually resubmit an economic hardship showing to continue offering the high-cost area benefit.

  • Outlines the steps providers must take to provide advance notice and a transition path for ACP consumers if the provider no longer qualifies to offer the high-cost area benefit.

Action by the Commission August 3, 2023 by Sixth Report and Order (FCC 23-62).


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