Money

Updated May 10

A last-minute effort to save the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) has failed, along with an effort to make funding available for the Huawei “rip and replace” program, according to news reports.

A proposed amendment to a bill to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration included provisions that would have made funding available for the ACP and the Huawei “rip and replace” program. But as the New York Times reports, the bill has now passed the Senate without amendments.

The proposed funding for the ACP was $6 billion, which was expected to be enough to last about one year. The proposed funding for the “rip and replace” program, officially known as the “Secure and Trusted Communications Network Act of 2019,” would have been over $3 billion.

The amendment was introduced by three Republicans and three Democrats part way into what has been expected to be the final month for the ACP. Funding for the program runs out this month and the benefit for this month is set to be less than half the usual $30 amount.

Initial funding for the “rip and replace” program was previously authorized but proved to be insufficient because of increased replacement costs. The program goal is to eliminate equipment from provider networks made by Huawei and certain other Chinese manufacturers that have been deemed to pose a threat to network security.

The ACP funding would have come with some strings attached.

The amendment to the FAA bill called for tightening income-based eligibility requirements by setting the maximum income threshold at 135% of the federal poverty line – down from 200%.

Funding for devices also would have been eliminated. Traditionally the program has paid up to $100 per household toward the cost of a computer or other device if the household contributes at least $10 to the purchase.

The amendment, as proposed, can be found at this link.

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