Pressure Point for the Affordable Connectivity Program

What’s New

Join the Affordable Connectivity Program Rally at 11:30 a.m. (live online), with FCC commissioners, National Economic Council Deputy Director Jon Donenberg, Sen. Peter Welch, and others!

Drew Clark Pressure Point for the Affordable Connectivity Program Rep. Yvette Clarke, D-New York, has introduced a discharge petition for the ACP.

It’s been a few weeks since I wrote my weekly column, but it’s not for lack of news! As I write this, I’m about to head over to the Affordable Connectivity Program Rally, which is taking place Tuesday at the Shaw/Watha T. Daniel Library, at 1630 7th St NW, Washington, DC 20001.

Affordable Connectivity Program Rally on April 30

The event will be in person at Shaw/Watha T. Daniel Library, located at 1630 7th St NW in Washington, and live online.

There’s a lot of gloom and doom right now on the subject of renewing the ACP. Perhaps this is deservedly so. It’s one of the country’s most important anti-poverty programs, and it connects millions of Americans to broadband. It has widespread support on Capitol Hill. And yet it is about to expire because of America’s dysfunctional budgeting process.

The Federal Communications Commission has announced that April is the last month that broadband providers will receive full reimbursement under the program. And that’s why the rally on Tuesday is so timely.

Note: If you are not able to get to the Shaw/Watha T. Daniel Library in person, join the livestream, on Broadband Breakfast or on Public Knowledge below.

But note at least three promising developments on this front:

  • Senate Commerce Committee Chair Maria Cantwell, D-Washington, on Friday filed an amendment to her draft spectrum auction legislation that would provide more funding for the Affordable Connectivity Program: $7 billion. The committee will be voting on the measure tomorrow, May 1:

Cantwell Ups ACP Money in Updated Draft Spectrum Auction Bill

The proposal would provide $7 billion for the ACP, an increase from the discussion draft.

  • There’s new pressure on Internet Service Providers to continue to fund the ACP for the month of May. This would allow Congress the time to vote to support the measure.

Senate Democrats Pressure ISPs To Fully Fund May ACP

A commitment to fully fund the month of May would give Congress time to provide new money for the Affordable Connectivity Program.

  • Finally, Rep. Yvette Clarke, D-N.Y., has had an active “discharge petition” on the floor of Congress. That would force a floor vote without House Speaker Mike Johnson’s blessing. The petition would need the signatures of a House majority, meaning at least five Republicans would have to sign on if all 213 Democrats get on board. Clarke’s bill has 228 cosponsors, including 22 Republicans.

Discharge Petition on Fate of $7 Billion ACP Now Active

Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon, D-Penn., said it may be the only viable way to fund the ACP Extension Act.

Tune into the ACP Rally to hear the latest!

This event will feature remarks from Rep. Yvette D. Clarke, D-N.Y., National Economic Council Deputy Director Jon Donenberg, FCC Commissioner Anna M. Gomez, and FCC Commissioner Geoffrey Starks as well as a lightning panel moderated by Public Knowledge’s Broadband Policy Director, Alisa Valentin, and closing remarks delivered by Sen. Peter Welch, D-Vermont. Media can expect a brief Q&A and may RSVP to attend in-person or via livestream.

A three-ring circus?

Broadband Breakfast keeps you informed on all the other broadband issues in play in Washington, and in the states. Among the three other hottest topics this past week were: (1) The FCC’s re-imposition of net neutrality rules, (2) more providers bailing on Rural Digital Opportunity Fund awards (and its impact on the Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment program), and (3) court filings in the landmark case involving the FCC’s digital discrimination order.

Among the top stories on net neutrality:

FCC Adopts Net Neutrality Order Without Major Changes

Officials said the final order clarifies that anti-throttling rules prohibit speeding up traffic.

Did Rosenworcel Make Changes to the Net Neutrality Draft Rules?

FCC Chairwoman Rosenworcel spent the last three weeks fielding various entreaties.

Can the FCC’s Net Neutrality Rules Survive the Major Questions Doctrine?

Justice Brett Kavanaugh is on record as saying net neutrality is unlawful.

Regarding the RDOF awards, this topic was the subject of Wednesday’s Broadband Breakfast Live Online, as well as these recent articles:

Broadband Breakfast on April 24, 2024 – Amnesty for Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Recipients

The Rural Digital Opportunity Fund has found itself mired in funding defaults.

Charter Hands Back Thousands of RDOF Locations in Three States

The company turned in 133 census block groups in all, representing about 2% of Charter’s RDOF locations.

Altice USA To Surrender RDOF Awards In Three More States

The third-largest cable ISP in the country told the FCC Friday it intends to surrender awards in Kentucky, Arkansas and West Virginia.

And on digital discrimination, landlords, broadband contractors, and housing sector groups may have their arguments considered in a supplement submitted Monday:

Opening Briefs Challenge FCC’s Digital Discrimination Rules in Eighth Circuit Court Case

Landlords, broadband contractors, and housing sector groups may have their arguments considered in a supplement submitted Monday.

The months ahead

On Wednesday, Broadband Breakfast kicks off a series of discussions in the months of May and June on smart cities and broadband. The first three events are scheduled to address education, MDUs and transportation, but we have others planned in the series. And look for our Exclusive Report on smart cities – available exclusively to to Broadband Breakfast Club Members – by Wednesday, May 1!

Broadband Breakfast on May 1, 2024 – Smart Cities and Education

With high capacity network, smart cities can revolutionize the future of education.

Broadband Breakfast on May 8, 2024 – Smart Cities, Multi-Dwelling Units and Bulk Billing

Standard MDU practices like bulk billing have recently become controversial.

Broadband Breakfast on May 15, 2024 – Smart Cities and Transportation

Smart technologies optimize traffic flow and keep commuters updated in real time

Have a great week!

Drew Clark
Broadband Breakfast