April 10, 2024

In the News: ACA Connects asks FCC to pump the brakes on plan to ban ‘bulk billing’  

ACA Connects asks FCC to pump the brakes on plan to ban ‘bulk billing’ in MDUs 
By Jeff Baumgartner, Light Reading 

Officials with ACA Connects and EducationSuperHighway spelled out a series of concerns they have about a proposal from FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel that aims to ban “bulk billing” for broadband in apartments, condos and other types of multiple-dwelling units (MDUs). 

Bulk billing agreements typically enable MDUs to negotiate discounted rates for broadband services on behalf of their residents. 

Both ACA Connects, an organization that represents hundreds of small and midsized independent US broadband service providers, and EducationSuperHighway, a national nonprofit focused on closing the digital divide for about 17 million low-income households, are asking the FCC to effectively “pump the brakes” on the item and to spend more time reconsidering and reassessing the proposed ban. 

Bulky Decision: Nonprofit, ISPs Caution FCC on MTE Item 
By Amy Maclean, Cablefax 

It’s been a little over a month since FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel announced that the Commission would vote on an item intended to address alleged harms of bulk billing—arrangements between ISPs and multiple-dwelling units for generally discounted rates for internet and/or video. With the item still on circulation, the details are murky. But it’s clear some are sweating—and it’s not just broadband providers sounding the alarm. 

EducationSuperhighway, a national nonprofit aimed at closing the broadband affordability gap, joined ACA Connects for a press call Tuesday in which the two discussed their objections to the ban. Bulk contracts have historically enabled residents in low income and affordable housing properties to have access to internet at a significantly discounted rate, an EducationSuperhighway spokesperson said. 

ACA Connects members fear a ban on bulk billing in MDUs 
By Linda Hardesty, Fierce Network 

Members of the trade group ACA Connects are pretty concerned about the FCC’s proposal to ban bulk billing arrangements in multi-dwelling units. An ACA Connects spokesperson said yesterday that there are “more members than you might think that could be impacted by this proposal. 


ACA Connects has reached out to its more than 500 small and medium-sized operator members to gauge their opinions on the issue.   

“We got a pretty robust response pretty quickly,” the official said. “We heard back from several dozen members who provide service in bulk arrangements and who had pretty serious concerns with the FCC’s proposal. It can be difficult for us to get members to respond. It tells me the concerns are pretty widespread within our membership.” 

He added that multiple providers say it would be chaotic to unwind existing bulk billing deals. 

In the same call with media yesterday an official from the non-profit group EducationSuperHighway said a ban on broadband bulk billing arrangements could be harmful to people in low-income housing complexes.