Federal Communications Commission Releases Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Affordable Connectivity Program | Morgana Lewis

The Federal Communications Commission’s Affordable Connectivity program launched earlier this year and has more than 12 million subscribers to date. As required by Congress, the Commission has issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking seeking comments on the program data to be collected, the mechanism for collection, and the format for publishing the data.

Comments will be due by July 25 and reply comments are due August 8.


Data gathering

The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (the Notice) seeks comments on the types of price and subscription rate data the Board should collect as part of the Connectivity Program’s annual transparency data collection affordable (ACP).

  • Information on prices and subscription rates: The Notice solicits comments on the pricing features that should be collected; what pricing elements should be included and how these elements can be distinguished by the Commission; and whether other price indicators should be collected, such as the cost of additional data purchased by households that exceed their monthly cap, or whether a plan is designed for low-income households.
  • Subscription prices: The Commission proposes to collect, as “subscription rate” data, the number of ACP households that subscribe to each unique service offering, distinguished by price and service features.
  • Plan features: The notice seeks comments on whether the Commission should collect information on advertised or maximum upload and download speeds, or other speed metrics; information about service plan data caps; associated equipment information for bundled service plans, bundle features information; or any other information characteristic of the scheme.
  • Broadband consumption labels: The notice seeks comments on whether the Commission is limited to the use of price information contained in broadband labels when collecting price data.
  • Performance indicators: The Commission proposes to use the information contained in the ACP Transparency Data Collection to assess the performance of the program in achieving the objectives set out in the ACP Ordinance.

Structure of data collection

The Commission is also seeking feedback on the process and methodology for collecting ACP transparency data.

  • Data collection systems: The Commission seeks comments on its proposed use of Lifeline’s National Accountability Database or other Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) systems to collect subscriber-level data, and whether a mechanism A different collection method should be used if the Commission were to collect data at an aggregated level rather than at the subscriber level. The notice further invites comments on how the level of aggregation affects the collection mechanism that should be used.
  • Data Registrants: The communication seeks comments on the Commission’s proposal to require each provider participating in the CPA to provide this data, regardless of the number of registered households.
  • Data updates: The notice seeks comments on the appropriate mechanism and timing for updating ACP transparency data, including how supplier data on existing ACP household price and subscription rate should be populated after the adoption of the final rules and whether suppliers should be required to regularly update this data. information.

Data collection approaches

  • Collection approaches and impact: The notice invites comments on the Commission’s proposal to collect subscriber-level information, but also invites comments on collecting more aggregated data or adopting a hybrid approach. The Commission invites comments on the impact and relative costs of collection and any related privacy concerns.
  • Public availability of data: The notice requests general comments on what data should be made public, how subscriber privacy and provider interests can be protected, how and when to publish, and how to balance the benefits and the disadvantages associated with publication.
  • Scope of information made public: The Commission proposes to publicly disclose only aggregated data and asks how to define “personally identifiable information” for the purposes of making the data publicly available and how it should minimize the risk of this information being disclosed when the data is made available to the public.


  • Forfeiture penalties: The Commission recommends that it treat failure to submit necessary data, respond to USAC or Commission requests for data, or provide complete and accurate data within the required timeframes as violations of the rules of the program that may result in forfeiture penalties commensurate with the level of data required to be collected. However, the Commission also invites comments on other methods of calculating the amount of confiscation.
  • Non-compliance follow-up: The Commission proposes to instruct USAC to provide the Enforcement Office with a list of vendors that do not submit ACP transparency data collection information within the applicable timeframe.
  • Involuntary withdrawal: The notice seeks feedback on whether failure to comply with ACP data collection rules could expose a provider to involuntary withdrawal from the program.

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Ryan H. Bowman