White House Seeks Billions in Funding from Congress to Extend Affordable Connectivity Program and Complete “Rip & Replace”
We are excited to bring to your attention two significant developments that impact the telecommunications industry, the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), and the FCC’s “Rip & Replace” program. These developments have the potential to shape the future of connectivity in the United States.
ACP Funding Increase: The White House announced a critical development impacting service providers and consumers of broadband services all across the nation – a substantial increase in funding that is essential to the survival of the ACP. The ACP is a program designed to provide a monthly broadband subsidy for low-income, tribal, and high-cost households. Originally a component of COVID-era relief, the ACP program has made internet access more affordable for millions of American households.
The White House is proposing an additional $6 billion to bolster the ACP. This funding increase is a testament to the program’s success and its broad-based support across the political spectrum. However, the work is far from over. To make this funding a reality, it must be included in the upcoming funding bill that moves through Congress before the end of the year. Additionally, the goal is to ensure the ACP finds a permanent home within the FCC’s Universal Service Fund.
“Rip & Replace” Program Funding: In a separate but equally crucial development, the White House is seeking $3.1 billion to further fund the removal of equipment made by Chinese telecoms giants Huawei and ZTE from U.S. telecom networks. The FCC has emphasized that removing this equipment is essential due to national security risks it poses. The cost of the removal is estimated at $4.98 billion, while Congress has approved $1.9 billion.
In 2019, Congress instructed the FCC to require U.S. telecoms carriers that receive federal subsidies to eliminate Chinese telecoms equipment from their networks. This is a significant step in safeguarding the integrity of the nation’s telecommunications infrastructure.
The funding allocation from the White House underscores the importance of addressing these national security concerns and ensuring the reliability and security of our telecommunications networks.
- The ACP, with its proposed $6 billion increase, is on track to continue providing vital support for millions of American households in need of affordable, high-speed internet access.
- The “Rip & Replace” program funding seeks to bolster national security by removing equipment from U.S. telecom networks that poses potential risks.
We encourage you to stay informed about these developments and support efforts to secure funding for these programs. The ACP has garnered support from a diverse range of stakeholders, including Democrats, Republicans, ISPs, and civil society organizations. Your advocacy can help ensure that these initiatives become a permanent and sustainable part of the telecommunications landscape.
If you have any questions or require further information regarding these developments, please do not hesitate to reach out to us. We are here to assist and guide you through the evolving regulatory landscape.