PITTSBURGH, March 25, 2021 – A large contingent of ACA Connects member companies is on track to participate in the Federal Communications Commission’s Emergency Broadband Benefit Program from the day it launches. More than 100 members have expressed interest and completed necessary steps to join the program. Collectively, these providers pass more than 10 million homes in total, representing the vast majority of homes passed by all ACA Connects members. In nearly all cases, these providers have networks capable of offering service of at least 100/20 Mbps, and all can offer at least 25/3 Mbps.
“The significant number of our member companies gearing up for the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program is not surprising given the great work they have already done to help their customers and their communities throughout the COVID-19 pandemic,” said ACA Connects President and CEO Matthew M. Polka. “Their participation in this new program will allow them to greatly expand upon these efforts. Consumers should know, more help is on the way.”
The Emergency Broadband Benefit Program is a $3.2 Billion broadband subsidy program that will connect eligible households with free or discounted broadband service during COVID-19.
“In these extraordinary times, struggling households need robust broadband service that can meet enhanced connectivity needs — for online learning, telehealth, and more. ACA Connects members have deployed high-speed, reliable networks that are up to the task,” said ACA Connects Chairman Patty Boyers of BOYCOM Vision in Poplar Bluff, Mo. “ACA Connects members, like mine, are eager to participate in this new program and to promote awareness of the benefit to eligible households in our communities.”
“ACA Connects thanks the FCC for streamlining both its application process for non-ETCs and USAC’s election notice process,” Chairman Boyers added. “By reducing the barriers to entry, the FCC has flung open the doors for experienced, smaller operators with robust networks to participate. Too often, such providers like my company are locked out of government programs because of onerous regulatory and paperwork burdens. But the strong interest in the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program from ACA Connects members is a testament to acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel’s leadership and to the FCC’s bipartisan efforts to develop sound rules for this new program.”
ACA Connects members that have sought FCC approval to participate in the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program or submitted USAC election notices include those listed on our website https://acaconnects.org/members-lounge/ebbp/participants/.
“ACA Connects is particularly pleased that a majority of these providers are non-ETC member companies that filed their applications with the FCC by the priority application deadline, which guarantees them a decision before the program starts whether they are approved to participate,” said ACA Connects’ Polka. “In fact, several of these companies have already received responses from the FCC granting approval.”
Though the priority deadline has passed, ACA Connects expects more non-ETC members to apply for FCC approval before the program begins. Additional ETC members are also expected to elect to participate in the program.