FCC Releases Additional ACP Transition Guidance

On December 30, 2021, the Wireline Competition Bureau released an Order providing additional guidance about requirements for the upcoming Affordable Connectivity Program (“ACP”) during the interim period until the Commission’s ACP rules become effective.  First, section 54.1608(a), which requires providers to submit a snapshot of new ACP enrollments on the first of every month, is waived for the January 1, 2022 snapshot.  Instead, the first snapshot will occur as of February 1, 2022, which will account for discounts passed through to newly enrolled subscribers in the Affordable Connectivity Program between December 31, 2021 and the end of January, up to the maximum monthly support amount of $30 for households on non-Tribal lands and up to $75 for households on qualifying Tribal lands.  Provider claims for this data month cannot exceed the maximum monthly amount allowed for that household under the Affordable Connectivity Program.  The February 1, 2022 snapshot will be due on or before February 15, 2022.

Second, until the FCC’s new ACP rules are effective, the EBB Program rules will continue to govern as described as follows: providers must continue to obtain the required informed consent when enrolling subscribers into the Affordable Connectivity Program, submit certified reimbursements claims, and require that enrollment representatives register in the Representative Accountability Database in accordance with the established EBB Program rules.  In addition, providers must continue to retain documents as required by the EBB Program rules.  As announced in the FCC’s prior ACP Order, the following changes to the rules will be made during the interim period: USAC is modifying the ACP applications to eliminate substantial loss of income from the list of qualifying criteria and, to the extent providers are able, providers should not enroll households on this basis; providers will have the flexibility to voluntarily offer service plans in the Affordable Connectivity Program beyond what providers offered in the EBB Program; and providers may not consider the results of a credit check before deciding to enroll new households in the ACP, though future guidance on this measure will be provided at a later date.

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