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Today, Public Knowledge joined MAG-Net, Communications Workers of America, Color of Change, and OC Inc. in submitting more than 20,000 signatures to the Federal Communications Commission urging the agency to expand its low-income phone subsidy program, Lifeline, to broadband Internet. The petitions will be added to the public record, which the Commissioners will consider before they vote on the Lifeline modernization proposal at the March 31 Open Meeting. Public Knowledge supports modernizing Lifeline to include broadband Internet as the new essential communications tool for the 21st century.
The following may be attributed to Meredith Whipple, Digital Content Associate at Public Knowledge:
“We are pleased to see that thousands of people took action to ask the Federal Communications Commission to modernize the Lifeline program to support broadband Internet access. It is clear from this outpouring of support how essential broadband access is to people’s lives.
“In 1985, the Federal Communications Commission established the Lifeline program, which provided a discount on phone service for qualifying low-income Americans. In 2005, the program was updated to include wireless phones. In 2015, Lifeline is still a successful program for ensuring all Americans have the opportunities and security provided by essential communications services, like connecting to emergency services, jobs, and family members.
“Now, 30 years after the introduction of Lifeline, the addition of broadband access is a clear next step for the Lifeline program. Americans increasingly rely on broadband Internet for education, employment, health care, news and information, access to government and social services, commerce, and basic communications. However, for many Americans, broadband is simply not affordable.
“Modernizing the Lifeline program to include broadband Internet access will help millions of Americans stay connected, further closing the digital divide and supporting a thriving American economy. We look forward to the Commission’s decision on its Lifeline modernization proposal.”