$9B Proposed for ACP and Rip and Replace Programs

$9B Proposed for ACP and “Rip and Replace” Programs

A proposed amendment was made to a bill that deals with the Federal Aviation Administration, including money for two important programs: the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) and the Huawei “rip and replace” program.

As per the amendment, the funding for the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) is made to receive $6 billion, which is expected to last for about a year.

The ACP program, launched in January 2022, is designed to make internet access more affordable for low-income group people by covering some of the costs for monthly broadband service or any devices.

The “rip and replace” program, officially called the “Secure and Trusted Communications Network Act of 2019,” is proposed to receive over $3 billion.

This program aims to cover the cost of removing and replacing insecure telecommunications equipment, particularly from Huawei and other Chinese companies considered to be security risks.

This move comes into effect after the funding for the ACP is running out this month.

Normally, the ACP provides a $30 discount on internet bills, but this month, the ACP benefit will be less than half of that.

Even the “rip and replace” program was short on money because replacing the equipment turned out to be more expensive than expected.

Under the proposed changes, the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) would no longer provide funding for devices like computers or other devices.

$9B Proposed for ACP & “Rip and Replace” Programs
$9B Proposed for ACP and Rip and Replace Programs

Previously, the ACP program offered up to $100 per household to help cover the cost of such devices as long as the household contributed at least $10 towards the purchase.

Gigi Sohn, representing the Affordable Broadband Campaign, said, “The Senate should move quickly so this extremely popular program can continue. By doing so, Congress would give themselves and the FCC time to start the process of reforming the Universal Service Fund so it can provide a permanent funding mechanism for low-income families to get and stay connected.”

On the amendment, Blair Levin, policy advisor for New Street Research, expressed his views that while there “remains uncertainty about the fate of this amendment and the FAA reauthorization process, for the first time, we think there is a material chance that an ACP extension happens.”

He further highlighted that Republican sponsors of the bill amendment “carry significant weight in the Republican Senate caucus, suggesting to us a material chance of sufficient Republican support for passage.”

He also said that the amendments made to the program are “the kind of reforms we thought likely to be necessary to break the long log jam on reform efforts.”

Levin views the extension of funding as starting a “ticking clock” for Congress to then “adopt Universal Service Fund (USF) reforms that would put the ACP (and the rest of the USF system) on a sustainable framework), with those reforms to be implemented by the FCC after the election.”

For more information, you can read the draft amendment on this link.

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Nancy Beverly

Nancy Beverly is a prominent political journalist and editor at World-Wire, known for her sharp analysis and deep understanding of global politics. With a Master's degree in Political Science, she excels in breaking down complex political issues, making them relatable to the public. At World-Wire, Nancy crafts compelling political narratives covering everything from local governance to international relations. Recognized for her expertise, she received the 'Excellence in Political Journalism' award in 2021. Nancy's work not only informs but also enriches her readers' understanding of political dynamics.

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