The FCC today released details about the data that service providers participating in the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) will have to file annually.
Providers will have to report speed, latency, and bundle characteristics, as well as certain aggregated subscriber data. They also will have to report a unique identifier associated with a broadband label, if applicable.
The ACP, which was launched early this year, pays up to $30 monthly toward the cost of broadband service for low-income households (up to $75 monthly on tribal lands). It also covers some of the costs of a broadband device such as a computer.
FCC Affordable Connectivity Program
The new reporting requirements came in an order adopted by the FCC on November 15 and released today. The commission also adopted a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) seeking comment on whether it should also collect additional data, such as more granular aggregated data, and data related to enrollment processes and connected device offerings.
The NPRM also seeks comments on the merits and burdens of collecting subscriber-level data and on whether the commission should collect information about whether an ACP subscriber is a first-time or existing broadband subscriber or subscribed to multiple plans. The goal of the latter data collection would be to gauge whether the ACP is helping to close the digital divide.
“We need to know where we have been with this program to better understand where we need to go,” said FCC Chair Jessica Rosenworcel in a prepared statement. “With this order, we are standardizing the way we collect information about the ACP. We are also considering proposals in a further rulemaking to see what other data points may help paint a fuller picture of how eligible households participate in this program.”
The ACP has been a key focus for the FCC recently. Just this week, the commission issued a notice of funding opportunity (NOFO) for two grant programs designed to encourage low-income households to participate in the ACP. This followed a similar NOFO released earlier this month for two other grant programs aimed at increasing ACP participation.
Numerous service providers offer service plans priced at $30 that enable ACP recipients to get service for free when they apply their $30 monthly benefit. In some cases, the providers offer the $30 plans only to customers enrolled in the ACP.
According to Rosenworcel, the ACP now has 15 million participants.