March 27, 2024

ACA Connects Asks FCC to Maintain the Fairness and Integrity of Its Auctions as It Coordinates With NTIA on BEAD 

March 27, 2024—In a new filing to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), ACA Connects urged the Commission to uphold the integrity and fairness of its universal service auction process as it works with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to ensure the Broadband Access, Equity, and Deployment (BEAD) program connects all Americans. 

Locations subject to enforceable buildout commitments under the FCC’s Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) or Connect America Fund Phase II (CAF II) are ineligible for BEAD support. Last month, a large coalition of providers, government entities, and not for profit groups asked the FCC to adopt an amnesty policy. This would permit RDOF/CAF II awardees to default on their deployment obligations without being subject to the required penalties – with the goal of freeing up these locations for BEAD. 

ACA Connects filed comments in response to this request arguing that providing amnesty would undermine the integrity of the FCC’s competitive bidding process, affecting both current and future awardees. ACA Connects also explained it would be inequitable to provide amnesty because many RDOF/CAF II awardees have already returned areas where they are not going to build and the FCC has assessed penalties on them. 

“ACA Connects shares the goal of connecting all unserved and underserved areas as soon as possible,” said Grant Spellmeyer, President and CEO of ACA Connects. “To that end, we support encouraging RDOF/CAF II awardees to promptly relinquish areas where they are not going to build. At the same time, to further the public interest, the FCC should maintain the fairness and integrity of its other federal universal service programs.” 

FCC Comments re Connect America Fund, Rural Digital Opportunity Fund, and Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Auction w/ Wireline Competition Bureau 
Published March 26, 2024 

About ACA Connects: America’s Communications Association –America’s Communications Association – ACA Connects is a trade organization representing more than 500 smaller and medium-sized, independent companies that provide broadband, video, and phone services covering 31.9 million households, 7.3 million of which are located in rural and smaller suburban markets across America. ACA Connects Members operate in every state, providing advanced communications to connect homes, companies, main street, schools, hospitals and more. America’s economic prosperity in smaller communities and rural areas depends on the growth and success of ACA Connects Members, who believe a connected nation is a prosperous nation.

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