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National Wireless Independent Dealer Association

ACP Program “Ends” – Sort of

The US Congress has yet to pass a spending bill regarding the ACP program and as such, last week the program stopped accepting new enrollments.

The Feb. 8 enrollment freeze is the next step in the FCC’s ACP wind-down plan. A few weeks ago, the customers on ACP (almost 23 million households) were told that the program is expected to end in May.

The program not only provides wireless access but broadband access as well. Access needed for school, work, healthcare, etc. 

The adverse effects of an ACP withdrawal won’t end with consumers. Entrepreneurs and corporations across the country have invested millions of dollars to create businesses to identify and serve eligible ACP customers. If the ACP infrastructure is allowed to disappear, so will the jobs and businesses built to support it.

And if it is allowed to lapse, but is then funded again in the future, businesses will be less likely to invest in a program that can come and go with the whim of current politics.

Calls for continued funding have come from many sources. Last week, in a letter to Congress, FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel warned that without additional funding, ACP households “are at risk of losing the internet service they rely on for work, school, health care and more.”

NWIDA has also reached out to numerous contacts in Washington advocating for the sustained support of the program.

The National Lifeline Association (NaLA), a nonprofit dedicated to the preservation of the FCC’s Lifeline program, is also hosting a digital campaign to Save ACP as part of the Don’t Disconnect Us Day initiative. NaLA told Light Reading that its Save ACP effort has contributed “117,453 emails, 7,437 calls/voicemails, and over 2,872 social media posts” to the 418,000 tally.

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