Remarks of FCC Commissioners on the Affordable Connectivity Outreach Grant Program
Federal Communications Commission Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said, "We are building a $100 million outreach grant program at the Federal Communications Commission to make sure that those who are eligible for the Affordable Connectivity Program hear about it. This is a good thing. It’s also something we were told to do in the [Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act]. Congress specifically directed us to conduct outreach for the Affordable Connectivity Program to help ensure eligible households are enrolled. One of the ways to do this is by making grants available to those who can help develop outreach efforts. I’m thrilled that we have an opportunity to provide our partners with resources to get the word out about this program and make sure broadband reaches everyone, everywhere in this country. To date, the FCC has held more than 750 events to promote the Affordable Connectivity Program. We have signed up nearly 50,000 partners. We have developed materials in 13 languages. This is what got us to 13 million households...But we have millions more to go. Let’s use this new outreach to make it happen."
Federal Communications Commissioner Brendan Carr said, "I want to express my thanks and appreciation to Chairwoman Rosenworcel and my colleagues for agreeing to incorporate suggestions I offered into the item before us today. First, I have long expressed the view that we must remain focused on those families that still remain unconnected today...That is why I am pleased that today’s decision now determines that we will prioritize applications that target households that are on no Internet plan at all—the point of this is to increase adoption, not just shuffle money around. Second, I am very pleased that we are now including a $10 million set-aside for bolstering ACP participation within Tribal communities...I am glad that we are now dedicating funding to make long-overdue progress on this issue. Third, we now ensure an equitable distribution of funding by establishing a set, minimum amount of funding that will be allocated evenly to every state. Fourth, I’m also pleased that the Order now includes a number of measures to help maximize the impact of the program, such as putting a cap on administrative expenses and committing to using objective measures. Finally, I’m glad we are incorporating some additional measures that are designed to promote transparency and accountability, including prohibiting undisclosed subrecipients. These edits will help maximize the odds that we achieve Congress’s goals with the ACP initiative, but it will be important for the agency to remain vigilant as it selects and oversees grantees, including through the NOFO process."
Federal Communications Commissioner Geoffrey Starks said, "I’m excited to vote for this item establishing the Affordable Connectivity Outreach Grant Program. It has my strong support for a number of reasons. First, we will be funding outreach to diverse populations—persons with disabilities, individuals living in rural or Tribal communities, and those who have been historically underserved, marginalized, or adversely affected by poverty or inequality...Second, grants are an integral part of the Your Home, Your Internet Pilot Program. The Pilot Program will be giving out $5 million in grant funding to Pilot Program participants focused on increasing awareness and enrollment among households receiving federal housing assistance. It is important that we have the grant process up and running as quickly as possible to support all of the important ongoing work for interested participants in the Pilot Program. Third, I have heard from countless advocates, broadband providers, and community leaders over the past few years on how we can do better in reaching unconnected households, and meeting vulnerable communities where they are. This is your opportunity to become a full-fledged partner and help execute those ideas! Let’s go—apply to participate and let’s partner up to help close the digital divide."
Remarks of FCC Commissioners Regarding the Affordable Connectivity Outreach Grant Program