ACLP Releases Forbes Piece Urging States to Avoid Rate Regulation via BEAD


Michael Santorelli


October 18, 2023

The ACLP has published a piece in Forbes urging states not to engage in broadband rate regulation as part of the BEAD process.

NTIA suggested in a guidance document that states consider engaging in rate regulation as part of their middle-class affordability planning. Even though NTIA has attempted to walk back this suggestion, states have already begun to use the middle-class affordability portion of their Volume 2 proposal to detail rate regulation-like requirements. If allowed by NTIA, these could greatly blunt the reach of BEAD funds by discouraging participation in the program by ISPs.

The piece underscores that rate regulation of any kind is prohibited, both by the IIJA and by the prevailing regulatory framework for broadband. If NTIA approves state plans with provisions that border on rate regulation, then that would contravene the prohibition in the IIJA. States also lack an independent grant of authority to engage in broadband rate regulation.

The piece recommends that states avoid any action that could be interpreted as rate regulation and focus instead on encouraging BEAD recipients to offer customers a range of service options. Offering choices to customers empowers them to decide for themselves which option is most affordable.

Michael Santorelli is the Director of the ACLP.