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AFFORDABLE CONNECTIVITY PROGRAM

ACP Wind-Down

These are some commonly asked questions about the Affordable Connectivity Program wind-down for community organizations and trusted institutions working to help households navigate the Affordable Connectivity Program. 

General

What does wind-down mean for the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP)?

The wind-down is happening because the $14.2 billion allocated to fund the ACP is projected to run out in April 2024. Due to the current lack of additional funding, the FCC has begun to wind down the ACP. This means:

  1. ACP applications and enrollments will not be processed after February 7, 2024, at 11:59 PM ET.
  2. Households who have applied, been approved, and are receiving the monthly internet discount before February 8, 2024, will receive their ACP benefit until ACP funds run out, as long as they remain enrolled in the program.
  3. Once the ACP funds run out (projected to be end of April 2024), households participating in the ACP will no longer receive the ACP discount.

Congress may still allocate additional funding to the ACP. See our “Advocacy” section below for more information on these pathways and how you can get involved.

What are the important dates I should be aware of regarding the ACP wind-down?

There are a few key ACP wind-down dates the FCC has highlighted. Those dates are:

  • Thursday, January 11th: The FCC released the ACP wind-down order 
  • Thursday, January 25th: Internet service providers must send the first of three required notices to households receiving the ACP benefit by this date informing them of the end of the ACP benefit.
  • Wednesday, February 7th: Eligible households must have been approved and applied their ACP code with an internet service provider by 11:59 PM EST to receive the benefit. Both steps must be completed to be considered enrolled in the ACP. No other applications will be accepted after this time.
  • End of February 2024: The FCC will announce when the last fully funded month of the program will be
  • End of April 2024: The FCC projects that ACP funds will run out at the end of April without additional funding. Please note that this date is an estimate and is subject to change.
What does the “last fully funded month of the ACP” mean?

“Last fully funded month of the ACP” refers to the last month that ACP households will receive the full ACP benefit received in previous months. Any remaining funds after the last fully funded month may be distributed the next month on a reduced basis. This is called “partial funding.”

Each internet service provider decides whether it will provide a reduced benefit. ACP subscribers should reach out directly to their internet service provider for more information. 

What happens if Congress provides additional funding for the ACP?

If additional funding is granted to the ACP, the FCC will provide more information on what happens next. We encourage you to regularly check https://www.fcc.gov/acp for more information.

Will I still be able to access EducationSuperHighway’s ACP resources once enrollment for the program has paused?

EducationSuperHighway resources such as PromoteACP, LearnACP, and GetACP.org will be available through February 7th, 2024, so that we continue helping organizations and community members enroll in the ACP until the wind-down.

After February 7th, we will adjust our resources to reflect the state of the ACP as follows:

  • GetACP.org: Once the pause is in effect, Households will not be able to enroll or check their qualification status using GetACP.org. However, households interested in receiving updates about when the program may reopen can fill out this form.
  • LearnACP: The course will be available to complete, but please note that newly certified specialists will not be able to enroll households in the ACP once the pause is in effect.
  • PromoteACP: Resources will remain available to download. We encourage partner organizations to utilize our advocacy resources to encourage renewal of the ACP.
  • ACP Enrollment Dashboard: The dashboard will remain accessible and will be updated with the latest enrollment data as it is released by USAC.

We remain committed to bridging the broadband affordability gap and will continue to provide resources outside of ACP. Sign up for our newsletter to stay informed on additional programming offerings and resources.

What resources are available to find information about the wind-down?

The best source of accurate and updated information will be the FCC. You can learn more here: www.fcc.gov/acp.

The Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC), the administrator of the ACP, will also send direct notices to ACP households regarding the wind-down. Households can also call the ACP Support Center directly at 877-384-2575 for more information about their ACP benefit.  

EducationSuperHighway will continue to provide updates on the ACP through our No Home Left Offline Coalition Newsletter. If you would like to sign up, click here.

How do I request a reimbursement before and after the February 8 enrollment pause?

For costs incurred before February 8, 2024 and which are consistent with their Notice of Award and approved project plans, grantees can continue to seek reimbursement.

There will be a funding restriction in PMS for costs incurred after February 8, 2024 until April 30, 2024. During the period grantees are required to submit invoices in the PMS for prior FCC approval before seeking reimbursements within the PMS for allowable costs incurred. Grantees will also be able to seek reimbursement for costs incurred before February 8; however they will have to submit an invoice with a date to substantiate that the costs were incurred before the 8th. 

Grantees will not be reimbursed for advance or prepayment of any future expenditures.

Households

Why can't I apply for the Affordable Connectivity Program after February 7, 2024?

Funding for ACP is projected to run out at the end of April 2024. As of January 2024, Congress has not approved additional funding to keep the ACP program going beyond April, at which point enrolled households will no longer receive the program discounts. The FCC is currently taking steps to wind down the ACP and is therefore not taking any new applications after February 7th, 2024. 

What if I am not fully enrolled in an Internet plan before February 7th at 11:59 PM?

If you are not fully enrolled in an Internet plan before February 7th at 11:59 PM, you will not receive the ACP benefit. 

In order to receive the ACP benefit your application status must say “qualified” and you must use your code with an Internet service provider before 11:59 PM on February 7th.

If you have submitted your ACP application but the status is pending as of February 8th, you will not be able to enroll in the program and receive the benefit.

If you have submitted your ACP application and qualified for the program but have not yet applied the benefit to an Internet plan as of February 8th, you will not be able to receive the benefit

When will my ACP benefit end?

If you are currently enrolled in the ACP (and actively applying the benefit to an Internet service plan), you will continue to receive the benefit until the program runs out of funding, projected to be April 2024. Note that this date is an estimate and may change. It’s also possible that you may receive some discount after this date until funds fully run out. You can contact your Internet service provider for information on exactly when you should last expect to see an ACP benefit on your monthly benefit bill. 

What should I do if my ACP benefit ends?

If your ACP benefit ends, we recommend reaching out to your Internet service provider to let them know whether you want to continue with your current service or whether you want to end your service. If you continue service after your ACP benefit ends, you can expect to pay the full price of the plan. When you reach out to your provider, you can ask about low-cost plans and potentially look into switching to a lower-cost plan if you desire. 

If I have questions about the ACP wind-down process, who can I contact other than my internet company?

You can reach out to USAC directly for questions about the wind-down. To do so, you can call the ACP Support Center at 877-384-2575 or go to GetInternet.gov for information about the status of the program. You can also continue to file complaints about ACP billing and service issues through the FCC’s Consumer Complaint Center at https://consumercomplaints.fcc.gov

Will I be able to change my Internet plan, or will I be subject to early termination fees if I want to end my Internet service?

Yes, you can change your internet plan or end your internet service without termination fees prior to the end of the ACP. The same consumer protections that are present for the ACP will continue to cover you until it ends. Note that once the ACP ends and you decide to continue with internet service, your internet company’s general terms and conditions will apply.

What information should I expect to receive from my Internet company?

You will receive at least three notices from your internet company that will tell you the following: 

  1. That the ACP is ending.
  2. The date of the last bill you will receive your ACP benefit.
  3. What the new cost of your service plan will be.


Ideally, the information will tell you about other low-cost plans that are available. A reminder that you can change your plan or end your service during this time. Look out for this communication the same way you receive other information from your internet company, such as your monthly bill. 

What other programs are available to me to receive a discount on my Internet service?

There is another federal program that can save you some money on your internet service – Lifeline. You may also qualify for this program (qualifying for Lifeline is a little different than the ACP. Visit https://www.fcc.gov/lifeline-consumers for more information). With Lifeline, you receive a monthly benefit of:

  • Up to $9.95 off the cost of phone, internet, or bundled services
  • Up to $34.25 off the cost of phone, internet, or bundled services if you live on qualifying Tribal Lands

Visit https://www.lifelinesupport.org/ to enroll. Also be sure to check with your internet company for other low-cost internet service plans.

Where can I find information about low-cost internet plans?

Check with your internet company to see what low-cost internet plans you have available to you. Also, check out these resources for other low-cost internet plans that may be available in your area.  

FCC Grantees

Grantees may continue conducting ACP outreach and assisting eligible households with enrollment support until February 7, 2024, at 11:59 PM ET. After February 8, there can be no ACP awareness and enrollment-related activities or campaigns, even those that were paid for prior to the ACP Wind Down Order’s release.  

When should organizations stop enrolling households in the ACP?

Households will not be able to enroll in the ACP after 11:59 PM ET on February 7. At this point, the “Apply” button on the National Verifier will be disabled. Organizations may choose to stop enrolling households before this deadline to accommodate the time needed for the household to fully submit their application and apply their ACP benefit with an Internet Service Provider.  Note that enrollments may resume in the future if extension funding is passed.

What happens to the grant programs if extension funding passes?

In its Grant Recipient Wind-down Guidance, the FCC indicated that it may consider a no-cost extension to the period of performance if additional funding were to become available for the ACP that would extend the monthly benefit beyond the projected end of the program.

As of February 8, 2024, grant activities may only be related to fulfilling administrative grant processes and requirements (such as financial and program reporting). Wind-down-related outreach and awareness activities, including assisting households with finding alternate low-cost internet plans, will not be allowed under ACP Outreach Grant Program Funding effective February 8, 2024. See Grant Recipient Wind-down Guidance for more information.

Will the FCC allow for a closeout period?

Yes, the FCC will allow for a closeout period. The final end date of the period of performance is April 30, 2024. Grantees will have 120 calendar days to submit all financial, performance and other required FCC reports (August 30, 2024). See the  Grant Recipient Wind-down Guidance for more information.

Do organizations need to complete reporting requirements for Q4, as well as the final cumulative report?

Grant recipients are expected to submit a Q4 and final report. This includes submitting the Performance Progress Report (PPR), PPR-Supplemental, and Federal Financial Report (FFR). Grantees will have partially funded activities to report between January 1, 2024 through February 7, 2024 at 11:59 PM ET, and administrative activities to report between January 1 and April 30, 2024. The final report is due August 30, 2024.  See the Grant Recipient Wind-down Guidance for more information.

Grant recipients may only engage in activities related to fulfilling administrative requirements of the grant cycle, such as, but not limited to, financial and reporting requirements, maintaining up-to-date key personnel information, attending FCC meetings, monitoring activities, and conducting closeout activities, if necessary.

Grantees can use their funding to pay salary and fringe benefits associated with personnel involved in the above mentioned activities.

Any grant-funded activities associated with increasing awareness of and participation in the ACP among eligible households will not be permissible. Grant recipients are prohibited from incurring new obligations/entering any new contracts for any allowable activities to be conducted after 11:59 PM ET, February 7, 2024. All previously unallowable costs listed in program NOFOs, the FCC Grants Manual, and FCC Terms and Conditions, remain unallowable. 

The following, details specific activities that are unallowable (this is not an exhaustive list):

  • Conducting wind-down related outreach and awareness activities is not an allowable use of grant funding
  • Compensation (salary and benefits) for personnel whose time is spent exclusively planning and executing ACP outreach activities and/or in-person ACP application enrollment assistance
  • Travel to and from ACP application enrollment events
  • Materials required to host in-person ACP enrollment events and physical awareness and marketing materials
  • Costs associated with placement of ACP advertisement on digital platforms
  • Costs associated with development and production of digital campaigns
  • In-language translation of outreach materials and costs associated with making materials accessible to individuals with disabilities
  • Light refreshments for outreach events
  • Facilities rental costs
  • Costs associated with consumer research and focus groups

NOTE: The grant recipient is responsible for any maintenance costs and subscriptions associated with IT hardware, systems or supplies purchased using grant funding.

What is the new performance end date for all grantees?

All ACP Outreach Grant recipients, to include NCOP, TCOP, YHYI, and NPP, will have a new period of performance end date of April 30, 2024. The revised period of performance takes into account the wind-down of the ACP and provides grantees time to complete any necessary administrative tasks, such as fulfilling reporting requirements. This new date supersedes each grant recipient’s period of performance end date noted in their Notice of Award.

How do I request a reimbursement before and after the February 8 enrollment pause?

For costs incurred before February 8, 2024 and which are consistent with their Notice of Award and approved project plans, grantees can continue to seek reimbursement.

There will be a funding restriction in PMS for costs incurred after February 8, 2024 until April 30, 2024. During the period grantees are required to submit invoices in the PMS for prior FCC approval before seeking reimbursements within the PMS for allowable costs incurred. Grantees will also be able to seek reimbursement for costs incurred before February 8; however they will have to submit an invoice with a date to substantiate that the costs were incurred before the 8th. 

Grantees will not be reimbursed for advance or prepayment of any future expenditures.

What are the key dates to be aware of?
  • February 5, 2024: Grantee Wind Down Guidance Acknowledgement due to the FCC by 6:00 PM ET
  • February 8, 2024: 
    • Application and enrollments will no longer be processed
    • Changes to allowable and unallowable costs go into effect
  • February 15, 2024: The FCC will place funding restriction on grantee accounts
  • April 1, 2024: Second Grantee Closeout Notice sent to all grantees
  • April 30, 2024: 
    • Last day to seek reimbursements; grant recipients must liquidate all financial obligations
    • Final financial and performance reports due
  • September 1, 2024: Funding restrictions placed on all remaining, unspent funds in PMS

Advocacy

What pathways exist for renewing ACP funding?

There are at least two promising pathways for renewal in Congress right now: 

  • The first is a bipartisan/bicameral bill, The Affordable Connectivity Extension Act of 2024 (HR 6929/S 3565). This bill would provide another $7 billion in funding for ACP. 
  • The second pathway is through appropriations. Currently, the government is operating under a Continuing Resolution and has yet to pass a yearly budget bill. This vote is expected to take place in March. 

As more information comes in, we will continue to update this response.

What action can I take to advocate for the ACP to continue?
  1. Contact your members of Congress with: “Please support and vote for HR 6929/S 3565 to allow the ACP to continue.” By citing the specific bill number, the request becomes actionable for the staffers, who can then go directly to the legislation and consider it. 

    If you are enrolled in the ACP, share your personal story of how ACP is benefiting you during that call/email. 

    Ideally, you can speak with someone in your congressional office. If not – leave a voicemail indicating that you tried to call during normal business hours and could not get through. If so, follow up with an email (typically available via a contact form on the member’s website).

     

  2. Complete our Impact Stories Form so that we can elevate the story of how ACP is benefiting you or your community.
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MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD

ACP Advocacy Resources

ACP ENROLLMENT ON HOLD

Enrollment for the ACP is currently on hold. If you are receiving the ACP, you will continue to receive the benefit until the program ends. Feel free to provide your email, and we’ll notify you on any updates about the ACP.