ACP Transparency Data Collection

Service Plan and Subscriber Metrics Data

The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), operated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), significantly bridges the digital divide. The program ensures eligible households can access affordable and reliable broadband internet services.

I have worked closely with participating Internet Service Providers (ISPs), the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC), and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to gain a better understanding of and contribute to this vital program.

As of October 2023, over 21 million households have saved more than $500 million a month on their internet bills through this program.

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The Federal Communications Commission has also introduced the ACP Transparency Data Collection initiative to ensure transparency and accountability.

What exactly is the ACP Transparency Data Collection, and why is it significant?

Let's go through the key details and important dates surrounding the Transparency Data Collection, which is at the heart of what I have been working on lately.

The Foundation: Fourth Report and Order DA 22-87

To understand the significance of the ACP Transparency Data Collection, we must travel back to November 15, 2022. On that particular date, the FCC adopted the Fourth Report and Order DA 22-87, which laid the foundation for this initiative. This data collection effort is designed to provide the FCC with a holistic comprehension of the benefits of the ACP for households across the nation.

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The data collection order fulfills a requirement from Congress in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL). It mandates the FCC to create rules for collecting data on prices and subscription rates from all ACP Participating Providers in the program within one year of the infrastructure law's passing.

The Purpose

The primary objective of the ACP Transparency Data Collection is to gather comprehensive information related to the Subscriber Metrics and Service Plan characteristics of internet service offerings provided by ACP participants.

Doing so aims to shed light on the advantages of ACP to households, ultimately helping bridge the digital divide and ensuring affordable connectivity for all.

FCC's Public Notice DA 23-683

On August 11, 2023, the FCC issued a crucial Public Notice that set the stage for the ACP Transparency Data Collection. Per this notice, the FCC first set the data submission deadline for the participating ISP for November 9, 2023.

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The data to be submitted will be based on a snapshot date of August 1, 2023, reflecting the service month of July 2023. This announcement underscores the FCC's commitment to transparency and data-driven decision-making.

Access to the Staging Environment

The ACP Data Collection System staging environment became accessible to service providers on August 18, 2023. This environment serves as a testing ground, enabling providers to familiarize themselves with the system and practice the precise procedures for uploading, submitting, and certifying service plan data. This preparatory step is crucial to ensuring a smooth and efficient data submission process.

FCC's Public Notice DA 23-1066

On November 9, 2023, just a few hours before the deadline, the FCC released another public notice extending the mandatory ACP Transparency Data Collection filing deadline. Initially set to conclude on November 9, 2023, the deadline has been extended to November 30, 2023, offering service providers additional time to complete their mandatory data submissions.

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Recent System Enhancements. USAC was also aware that Service Providers have experienced issues with the ACP Data Collection System and has implemented and scheduled system enhancements to resolve these issues. The enhancements have improved lag times, system accessibility, navigation, and retrieving bulk upload error reports.

The Annual Submission Window

The 2023 annual submission window officially opened on September 8, 2023. This date marked the commencement of ACP providers' ability to submit their production data related to internet pricing and subscription rate plans. It is important to note that all data updates and revisions must be completed by 11:59 p.m. ET on November 30, 2023. There will be no late submissions accepted.

Compliance and Penalties

The submission process for the ACP Transparency Data Collection has some important compliance considerations. Only 497 officers or agents have access to, submit, and download data within the system, which can be accessed through the USAC One Portal.

Under the FCC's citation 47 CFR 54.1813 Section (f), failing to submit the ACP Transparency Data Collection by the specified compliance date will result in penalties at the state level, including the potential forfeiture of either $22,000 or the latest monthly claim amount (whichever is lesser) for each state where a provider fails to submit complete information.

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Service provider users with 497 Officer or Agent credentials can access the ACP Data Collection System to:

Only 497 Officers can certify submitted data in the ACP Data Collection System.

Key Data Characteristics

The FCC's order specifies that internet price and subscription rate plan offerings must exhibit several vital attributes to be considered acceptable. These include actual speed, advertised speed, base monthly price, bundle options, data caps, latency, legacy plans, personally identifiable information, plan details, and unique identifiers. These characteristics are defined in detail under FCC's citation 47 CFR 54.1813.

CSV File: Service Plan Data Template For Bulk Upload.

It's important to note that data will be collected on a ZIP code-level basis rather than at the subscriber level.

CSV File: Susbcriber Metrics Data Template For Bulk Upload.

§ 54.1813 Affordable Connectivity Program Transparency Data Collection.
Link to an amendment published at 88 FR 2267, January 13, 2023.

(a) Definitions. For purposes of the Affordable Connectivity Program Transparency Data Collection:

For a more detailed description of these characteristics, you can refer to the FCC's citation 47 CFR 54.1813.

Inadequate Data and Revisions

Should the FCC identify any insufficient data after the submission deadline, service providers will receive an email notification explaining why the submission was flagged. They will have 30 days to rectify these issues. Similarly, revisions to the ACP Transparency data not flagged by the FCC must also be made within 30 days of the submission closing date and sent to ACPDataCollection@FCC.gov for processing.

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Additional Resources

For more information on the ACP Transparency Data Collection Process, visit USAC's website: USAC ACP Transparency Data Collection. Detailed guidance and frequently asked questions can be found in USAC's Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): USAC FAQs.

Conclusion

The ACP Transparency Data Collection is a critical component of the Affordable Connectivity Program, and its success is pivotal in ensuring affordable, accessible, and reliable internet access for households nationwide.

The FCC has stated that the filing of this data will be an annual requirement. The rigorous data collection and reporting processes ensure transparency, accountability, and data-driven decision-making.

If you have any questions or require assistance, please don't hesitate to use my contact form. Together, we can continue to close the digital divide and ensure that connectivity is a reality for all.

I assist Internet Service Providers (ISPs) looking to participate in the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) and those seeking ACP Management Services.

I also facilitate ISPs in accessing the program's funding and resources, enabling them to enhance internet access and affordability for underserved communities, all while maintaining compliance with FCC regulations.

Jackin Alix Bien-Aime

I hope you enjoy reading this blog post. To get assistance with ACP-related matters, click here. You can follow me via the various channels below:
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