Wireless Internet Service Providers Seek Tweaks in Affordable Connectivity Program Draft Rules

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Wireless internet service providers (ISPs) have some modifications they are asking the Federal Communications Commission to make to its draft Affordable Connectivity Program broadband subsidy before it adopts the rules by Congress‘ January 14 deadline. The modifications, according to an ex parte filing by the Wireless Internet Service Providers Association (WISPA), include: 1) ISPs should be reimbursed for partial services because if, as proposed, there are no subsidies for service provided for only part of a month, that will discourage ISPs from participating if they are forced to absorb those “lost costs;” and 2) the FCC should allow providers to downgrade the service due to subscriber nonpayment, as long as advance notice is given, rather than not being allowed to downgrade without the subscriber‘s advance consent. WISPA also said the draft rules as presently written would allow a subscriber disconnected for nonpayment to re-enroll and the ISP could not deny them because of their nonpayment history. The ISP would then have to wait 90 days before de-enrolling them if they do not pay, a cycle that could continue ad infinitum. WISPA did say it was on board with the FCC's decision to prohibit credit checks for subsidy recipients and to adopt a hybrid opt-in/opt-out approach to transitioning subscribers from the Emergency Broadband Benefit program that the ACP supplants.

Wireless ISPs Seek Tweaks in Affordable Connectivity Program Draft