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Today, the Federal Communications Commission voted to modernize the low-income telephone subsidy, Lifeline, to support broadband Internet access. Public Knowledge supports updating the Lifeline program to make broadband more affordable for millions of low-income Americans and to help end the digital divide.
The following can be attributed to Phillip Berenbroick, Counsel for Government Affairs at Public Knowledge:
“Today’s vote by the FCC is an important step toward making broadband affordable for all Americans. Access to broadband Internet service has become a necessity in modern America -- we use broadband to communicate with loved ones, connect to education and health care, and to participate in our democracy and the global economy. Chairman Wheeler’s proposal will help close the digital divide and connect low-income Americans to the essential communications medium of the 21st century.
The Lifeline modernization Order takes significant steps to protect the integrity of the universal service fund and ensure the program remains sustainable into the future. It increases competition by allowing more broadband providers to offer Lineline-supported service, sets minimum broadband standards to ensure subscribers aren't relegated to second-rate service, and curtails opportunities for fraud and abuse. The plan also provides incentives for increased participation by helping make broadband affordable to millions of non-adopters, many for the first time.
“For the past thirty years, policymakers have recognized that basic telephone service was critical for Americans to fully engage in our society. Now, broadband is the essential communications service, and extending Lifeline to broadband will finally put the American dream of connection within reach for those struggling the most.”
For more information on the FCC’s Lifeline modernization proposal, please view our blog post, “Shrinking the Digital Divide: FCC Adopts Lifeline Broadband Subsidy.”