FCC plans to subsidize broadband for the poor2015-05-29 09:50 by Daniela
Tags: FCC, broadband
FCC chairman Tom Wheeler has proposed the government to expand a phone subsidy program for the poor to include Internet access. Currently, the government program called Lifeline subsidizes basic phone service for low-income people. Now, the aim is the same program to deliver broadband Internet connection to many poor people who lack it.
If the overhaul of the program is approved, those people would be able to use the monthly $9.25 Lifeline subsidy to pay for a broadband connection or a phone line.
"As communications technologies and markets evolve, the Lifeline program also has to evolve to remain relevant," Wheeler said in a blog post. "Broadband is key to Lifeline's future."
"Broadband access is essential to find a job - more than 80 percent of Fortune 500 job openings are online," Wheeler added. "Americans need broadband to keep a job, as companies increasingly require basic digital literacy skills. We rely on broadband to manage and receive healthcare, and to help our children do their homework."
Since Lifeline has been criticized for being susceptible to fraud, it is highly possible that the proposal may get resistance from Republicans. Wheeler assures that anti-fraud measures have been taken since 2012, such as extending the period that providers must keep documents on customers' eligibility for the programs.
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