The clock is ticking for ACP—can it be saved?

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April is the last fully funded month for the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), and the forecast for its future is looking grim. On March 23, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved Congress’ final, fiscal year 2024 spending package, worth a whopping $1.2 trillion. The kicker? The over-1000-page legislation contained no mention of additional funding for the ACP. And the numbers aren’t looking pretty. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has appropriated a total of around $17 billion for the ACP and its predecessor the Emergency Broadband Benefit program. As of February 15, just under $2.5 billion remained in the ACP funding pot. The FCC froze new ACP enrollments on February 8. As of that date, approximately 23.3 million households were enrolled in the program, including around 329,000 Tribal households. Joe Kane, director of broadband and spectrum policy at ITIF, said that while there’s still bipartisan support to keep ACP running, “it doesn't seem to be a top priority for those with the power to move forward.”

The clock is ticking for ACP - can it be saved?