Former FCC Commissioner O'Rielly: ACP should be extended but modified
Former FCC Commissioner Michael O'Rielly called the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) "the best mechanism we've had to date" for subsidizing low-income broadband. But he added that the current Congress is unlikely to pass funding for the ACP without changes to the program. According to O'Rielly, Congress will want to address waste, fraud, and abuse with the program, and likely limit its eligibility. By some estimates, up to 40% of Americans currently qualify for the program. "That's probably not suitable for policymakers that I talked to on Capitol Hill. It's just not in the cards," he said. it's unclear if there's support to fund the ACP again, with or without changes. Meanwhile, the program is projected to run out of funding sometime in 2024. How soon that date arrives depends in part on the success of new grant programs launched by the FCC to fund local government and non-profit efforts to boost enrollment in the ACP. While there are currently over 18.5 million households enrolled, according to the latest available data, that's a fraction of the estimated eligible households. Industry stakeholders generally see the effort to extend the ACP's reach as far as possible as a positive thing, despite the fact that it will force the program to end faster without congressional action.
Former FCC Commissioner: ACP should be extended but modified