Tags: fcc | subsidized | broadband | low-income

FCC Subsidized Broadband for Low-Income Americans Plugged

By    |   Friday, 29 May 2015 07:05 AM

The FCC chairman Tom Wheeler proposed a subsidized broadband Internet program to help low-income citizens foot the bill for what many say is an essential service.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the proposal tentatively suggests giving qualifying consumers $9.25 a month, and keeps in place the possibility that they'll have to pay any remaining service cost out of pocket. A vote on the proposal is expected June 18.

The program would build upon the government’s existing telephone subsidies, specifically the Lifeline program started during President Reagan's administration. In 2008, the program was expanded to include the subsidy of mobile phones, which led to an uptick in fraud and abuse.

The New York Times noted that Pew data from 2013 shows that just 54 percent of households making less than $30,000 a year have broadband. Across the general population, 80% of Americans have either an at-home broadband connection, a smartphone with Internet access, or both.

Reps. Fred Upton, R-Mich., and Greg Walden, R-Ore., said in a statement that the new proposal "misses the mark on the reforms we need.

"Simply expanding the program without ensuring its effectiveness or longevity is the wrong approach if we’re going to do right by those who pay for the program, and those who depend on it," they continued.

It remains unclear if the FCC's new proposal takes into account the possibility that ad-supported or "freemium" Internet access could also help low-income individuals get online.

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The FCC chairman Tom Wheeler proposed a subsidized broadband Internet program to help low-income citizens foot the bill for what many say is an essential service.
fcc, subsidized, broadband, low-income
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2015-05-29
Friday, 29 May 2015 07:05 AM
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