The FCC this week adopted a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) seeking input on proposed rules for collecting price and subscribership information for the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). The program pays part or all of the cost of broadband service for low-income households.
When Congress created the ACP, legislators also included a requirement for the FCC to collect price and subscription rates from service providers participating in the program.
The commission proposes to use the National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD) for collection of the data.
The commission proposes to define price as the monthly charge for the internet service offering that a household would be charged absent the application of the ACP benefit. The NPRM seeks input on a wide range of additional price-related questions, such as:
- How should we collect promotional pricing or introductory rates?
- Should other price characteristics, such as whether the internet service offering is pre-paid or post-paid, be collected?
- Should taxes and fees be collected as part of price?
- If so, what price information should be included, and how can we distinguish between the components of the price? For example, should the values of promotional discounts such as for streaming service (e.g., Disney+, Spotify, Netflix, etc.) or modem rental, military discounts, or paperless billing discounts be collected?
- Should the collected price information reflect any discounts provided to households receiving a service offering under an extended service contract?
- Should whether a plan is designated as a plan for a low-income household be collected?
- Should the prices for associated equipment, such as modems or routers, be collected?
- How should the price of service bundles (for example, voice/broadband or voice/broadband/cable) be collected?
- For those households who exceed their monthly data cap, should the cost of additionally purchased data be considered?
- Are there any other indicators of price that should be collected?
The commission proposes to interpret “subscription rate” as total program subscribership to unique internet service offerings over time and seeks comment on additional questions such as:
- Should we collect the number of households of an internet service offering as of a certain moment in time (e.g., as of a particular day), or should the Commission collect data on the number of households receiving the offering over a given period of time (e.g., over a multiple month period)?
- Should we require providers to submit subscription rate data disaggregated by month or quarter on an annual basis?
- Will either of these approaches better enable the Commission to calculate the “take rate” (i.e., the fraction of subscribers selecting the plan from those who could select the plan) and identify changes in the rate over time?
- Should the Commission collect any other data related to the growth or churn rate, which would show the net additions or drop-offs from plans over time?
Interested parties will have 30 days from the time the NPRM about FCC ACP rules is published in the Federal Register to submit comments.