Thursday, April 2, 2020
Newly Unemployed Need Lifeline
On April 2, 2020, the Department of Labor reported that there were an additional 6,648,000 initial unemployment claims in the U.S, a week after a then-record 3,307,000 claims were filed. The following statement may be attributed to Adrianne B. Furniss, the executive director of the Benton Institute for Broadband & Society:
Over 10 million newly-unemployed Americans are being urged if not ordered to shelter in place for their own health and that of their communities. A broadband connection makes it possible for their children to continue to learn, for workers to look for new jobs, and for families to connect with doctors and loved ones. Fortunately, the Federal Communications Commission has a tool that can keep these people connected, the Lifeline program. The FCC should act now to ensure that everyone who files for unemployment is automatically enrolled in Lifeline and immediately see a reduction in their communications bill. That should be part of immediate action by the FCC to expand Lifeline to provide a $50/month subsidy for broadband service.
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai must feel the fierce urgency of now. Lives are at stake. Give them a lifeline.
The Benton Institute for Broadband & Society is a non-profit organization dedicated to ensuring that all people in the U.S. have access to competitive, High-Performance Broadband regardless of where they live or who they are. We believe communication policy - rooted in the values of access, equity, and diversity - has the power to deliver new opportunities and strengthen communities.
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