United States Code
USC most recently checked for updates: Dec 05, 2023
The term “broadband internet access service” has the meaning given such term in section 8.1(b) of title 47, Code of Federal Regulations, or any successor regulation.
The term “broadband provider” means a provider of broadband internet access service.
The term “Commission” means the Federal Communications Commission.
The term “connected device” means a laptop or desktop computer or a tablet.
The term “designated as an eligible telecommunications carrier”, with respect to a broadband provider, means the broadband provider is designated as an eligible telecommunications carrier under section 214(e) of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 214(e)).
Subject to subparagraph (B), the term “affordable connectivity benefit” means a monthly discount for an eligible household applied to the actual amount charged to such household, in an amount equal to such amount charged, but not more than $30, or, if an internet service offering is provided to an eligible household on Tribal land, not more than $75.
The Commission shall, by regulation, establish a mechanism by which a participating provider in a high-cost area (as defined in section 1702(a)(2) of this title) may provide an affordable connectivity benefit in an amount up to the amount specified in subparagraph (A) for an internet service offering provided on Tribal land upon a showing that the applicability of the lower limit under subparagraph (A) to the provision of the affordable connectivity benefit by the provider would cause particularized economic hardship to the provider such that the provider may not be able to maintain the operation of part or all of its broadband network.
The term “internet service offering” means, with respect to a broadband provider, broadband internet access service provided by such provider to a household.
The term “National Lifeline Accountability Database” has the meaning given such term in section 54.400 of title 47, Code of Federal Regulations (or any successor regulation).
The term “National Verifier” has the meaning given such term in section 54.400 of title 47, Code of Federal Regulations, or any successor regulation.
The Commission shall establish a program, to be known as the “Affordable Connectivity Program”, under which the Commission shall, in accordance with this section, reimburse, using funds from the Affordable Connectivity Fund established in subsection (i), a participating provider for an affordable connectivity benefit, or an affordable connectivity benefit and a connected device, provided to an eligible household.
From the Affordable Connectivity Fund established in subsection (i), the Commission shall reimburse a participating provider in an amount equal to the affordable connectivity benefit with respect to an eligible household that receives such benefit from such participating provider.
A participating provider that, in addition to providing the affordable connectivity benefit to an eligible household, supplies such household with a connected device may be reimbursed up to $100 from the Affordable Connectivity Fund established in subsection (i) for such connected device, if the charge to such eligible household is more than $10 but less than $50 for such connected device, except that a participating provider may receive reimbursement for no more than 1 connected device per eligible household.
Nothing in subparagraph (A) shall prevent a participating provider from terminating the provision of broadband internet access service to a subscriber after 90 days of nonpayment.
When a customer subscribes to, or renews a subscription to, an internet service offering of a participating provider, the participating provider shall notify the customer about the existence of the Affordable Connectivity Program and how to enroll in the Program.
The Commission shall collaborate with relevant Federal agencies, including to ensure relevant Federal agencies update their System of Records Notices, to ensure that a household that participates in any program that qualifies the household for the Affordable Connectivity Program is provided information about the Program, including how to enroll in the Program.
The Commission may conduct outreach efforts to encourage eligible households to enroll in the Affordable Connectivity Program.
In complying with this paragraph, the Commission may take advantage of the exceptions set forth in subsections (e) and (f).
Not later than 1 year after
Not later than 7 days after a finding made by the Commission under the requirements of paragraph (12), the Commission shall notify the Committee on Energy and Commerce of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate with any information described in such paragraph that the Commission has obtained.
At the conclusion of the Affordable Connectivity Program, any participating eligible households shall be subject to a participating provider’s generally applicable terms and conditions.
Not later than 60 days after
The Commission may not require a broadband provider to be designated as an eligible telecommunications carrier in order to be a participating provider.
The Commission shall establish an expedited process by which the Commission approves as participating providers broadband providers that are not designated as eligible telecommunications carriers and elect to participate in the Affordable Connectivity Program.
Notwithstanding subparagraph (A), the Commission shall automatically approve as a participating provider a broadband provider that has an established program as of
Nothing in this section shall affect the collection, distribution, or administration of the Lifeline Assistance Program governed by the rules set forth in subpart E of part 54 of title 47, Code of Federal Regulations (or any successor regulation).
Nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent the Commission from providing that the regulations in part 54 of title 47, Code of Federal Regulations, or any successor regulation, shall apply in whole or in part to the Affordable Connectivity Program, shall not apply in whole or in part to such Program, or shall be modified in whole or in part for purposes of application to such Program.
A violation of this section or a regulation promulgated under this section shall be treated as a violation of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 151 et seq.) or a regulation promulgated under such Act. The Commission shall enforce this section and the regulations promulgated under this section in the same manner, by the same means, and with the same jurisdiction, powers, and duties as though all applicable terms and provisions of the Communications Act of 1934 were incorporated into and made a part of this section.
Section 553 of title 5 shall not apply to a regulation promulgated under subsection (c) or a rulemaking proceeding to promulgate such a regulation.
A collection of information conducted or sponsored under the regulations required by subsection (c) shall not constitute a collection of information for the purposes of subchapter I of chapter 35 of title 44 (commonly referred to as the Paperwork Reduction Act).
There is established in the Treasury of the United States a fund to be known as the Affordable Connectivity Fund.
There is appropriated to the Affordable Connectivity Fund, out of any money in the Treasury not otherwise appropriated, $3,200,000,000 for fiscal year 2021, to remain available until expended.
Amounts in the Affordable Connectivity Fund shall be available to the Commission for reimbursements to participating providers under this section, and the Commission may use not more than 2 percent of such amounts to administer the Affordable Connectivity Program.
Reimbursements provided under this section shall be provided from amounts made available under this subsection and not from contributions under section 254(d) of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 254(d)).
The Commission shall have the authority to avail itself of the services of the Universal Service Administrative Company to implement the Affordable Connectivity Program, including developing and processing reimbursements and distributing funds to participating providers.
The Commission may not enforce a violation of this section under section 501, 502, or 503 of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 501; 502; 503), or any rules of the Commission promulgated under such sections of such Act, if a participating provider demonstrates to the Commission that such provider relied in good faith on information provided to such provider to make the verification required by subsection (b)(2).