FCC To Issue Draft of New ACP Broadband Subsidy Rules ASAP

FCC's 2020 seal
(Image credit: FCC)

Coming up on a January 14 statutory deadline to promulgate rules to govern the multibillion-dollar Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) broadband subsidies, the Federal Communications Commission plans to put out a draft of the rules ASAP so the public can comment on them.

The FCC has already said the rules applying to the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) COVID-19-related broadband subsidy program, which ACP is supplanting, would apply — with some tweaks — from December 31, when the ACP triggered, until the new rules are adopted. That will happen sometime after January 14, since the Office of Management and Budget has to sign off on the information collection portion of the rules.

"In light of the approaching statutory deadline and the Commission’s desire to receive targeted and timely input from a broad cross-section of the affected public, chair [Jessica] Rosenworcel announces that extraordinary circumstances exist to warrant the discretionary release of a draft Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, including draft rules, which will be available to the public soon," the FCC said Thursday (January 6).

It will have to be ASAP for there to be enough time to comment given the FCC deadline. The FCC said it will take input through January 11 at 5 p.m. ■

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.