FCC pushes Lifeline decisions to states

According to the Washington Post

The head of the Federal Communications Commission said Wednesday he wants to block requests by dozens of small and rural Internet providers hoping to offer subsidized broadband connections to low-income Americans nationwide, saying that state officials should decide whether to allow those companies to participate in the federal program known as Lifeline.

Here’s a little background…

Through Lifeline, roughly 3.5 million Americans receive a monthly credit worth $9.25 that they then use to reduce the cost of buying mobile or residential broadband. Millions more use the subsidy to purchase traditional phone service. The program, which was created during the Reagan administration, supports seniors, veterans and rural Americans who otherwise cannot afford phone or Internet service. It is not funded by taxpayer dollars but by the fees collected on consumers’ phone bills each month.

And a high level look at both sides…

“Eliminating the national designation procedure puts more ‘state cops on the beat,'” said Paul Kjellander, a commissioner on Idaho’s public utilities commission, “and strengthens both complementary state Lifeline programs and the quality of service provided to customers, as well as deters fraud and abuse of the program.”

Opponents of the decision said the move will limit struggling Americans’ ability to choose a good provider, particularly in rural or low-income areas.

This entry was posted in FCC, Policy by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

I have a Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science. I have been interested or involved in providing access to information through the Internet since 1994, when I worked for Minnesota’s first Internet service provider. I am pleased to be a part of the Blandin on Broadband Team. I also work with MN Coalition on Government Information, Minnesota Rural Partners, and the American Society for Information Science and Technology.

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