On March 27, 2020, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was signed into law, appropriating $200 million to the Commission “to support efforts of health care providers to address coronavirus by providing telecommunications services, information services, and devices necessary to enable the provision of telehealth services” during the pendency of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Commission established the COVID-19 Telehealth Program to fulfill its responsibilities under the CARES Act. On December 27, 2020, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 was signed into law, appropriating an additional $249.95 million to the Commission for the COVID-19 Telehealth Program. The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 also established an Emergency Broadband Connectivity Fund in the United States Treasury in the amount of $3.2 billion and directed the Commission to use that fund to establish an Emergency Broadband Benefit Program (EBBP). On March 11, 2021, as part of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, Congress established an Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF) in the United States Treasury in the amount of $7.171 billion and directed the Commission to promulgate rules providing for the distribution of ECF funding to eligible schools and libraries. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act was signed into law on November 15, 2021; the Infrastructure Act directed the Commission to implement new rules to extend the EBBP to a longer-term broadband affordability program to be called the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), which has an appropriation of $14.2 billion. To assist the Commission with the fulfillment of its responsibilities for these programs, the Commission has entered into Memorandums of Understanding (MOU) with the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) to provide support for the Commission’s efforts. Please see the links below for these separate MOUs.
- Affordable Connectivity Program MOU between the FCC and USAC (revised) (3/2/2022)
- Affordable Connectivity Program MOU between the FCC and USAC (11/16/2021)
- Emergency Connectivity Fund Program MOU between the FCC and USAC (3/18/2021)
- COVID-19 Telehealth Program MOU between the FCC and USAC (2/4/2021)
- Emergency Broadband Benefit Program MOU between the FCC and USAC (2/3/2021)