WASHINGTON — U.S. Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.), ranking member of the Subcommittee on Communications, Media, and Broadband, and Ted Cruz (R-Texas), incoming ranking member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, today released the following statement regarding the Government Accountability Office’s (GAO’s) new report on the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC’s) Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). The report revealed that the FCC is not effectively detecting fraud in the ACP, which is designed to provide eligible households with a discount on broadband services and connected devices.
“The results of GAO’s findings reveal that the FCC’s ACP is subject to massive waste, fraud, and abuse of taxpayer dollars,” said the senators. “We find it incredibly concerning that the FCC has failed to establish a process that regularly assesses fraud risks within the ACP. It is incumbent upon the Senate Commerce Committee, which has jurisdiction over the FCC, to have an oversight hearing to address GAO’s report and hold the FCC accountable to American taxpayers.”
In April 2021, Sens. Thune and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), ranking member of the Senate Commerce Committee, requested a GAO review of the FCC’s Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) program’s effectiveness and efficiency for oversight purposes. The EBB program was later replaced by the ACP on December 31, 2021.
In December 2022, Thune launched a nationwide broadband oversight effort that will review numerous broadband programs spanning several federal agencies. The primary goal of Thune’s effort is to hold these agencies accountable and ensure that previously authorized broadband funding is being used in the most efficient way possible to protect taxpayer dollars. Thune recently sent a letter to a diverse group of stakeholders, including broadband associations, public interest groups, and free market think tanks to seek their input on the current broadband regulatory structure.