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ISPs Show Solidarity on Emergency Broadband Funds

FCC's 2020 seal
(Image credit: FCC)

Some major broadband associations want to make sure the FCC knows they are on the same page when it comes to spending the $3.2 billion in emergency broadband funds Congress has allocated.

The FCC has 60 days from the passage of the COVID-19 aid package Dec. 22 to figure out just how to do that.

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According to an ex parte document filed with the FCC, executives from ACA Connects, NCTA-the Internet & Television Association, INCOMPAS, and WISPA, the wireless internet service providers association, met via videoconference with Wireline Competition Bureau staffers to present a unified front on some key elements of the program.

They want the FCC to allow non-eligible telecommunications carriers (ETCs) to be eligible for the new funds and get the training to be able to participate in the applications process from "day one."

They also want the FCC to establish an initial filing window for applications, rather than the current proposal to have a rolling review process, and they want a single start date for all providers that qualify "so that consumers are presented with a full array of competitive broadband choices."

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Lastly, they want flexibility in "the specific service offerings that are available for the EBB program, the categories of households that may participate, and the verification processes that providers will use to qualify households."