Boosting broadband adoption | Part 3 of Build Back Better with Biden FCC

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The digital divide and internet equity is more about consumer adoption than it is about network deployment. This paper addresses the adoption problem, how it has been exacerbated by the Trump Federal Communications Commission, and how the Biden FCC will be called upon to think anew and reprioritize in order to connect more Americans. Trump FCC systematically and stealthily worked to weaken the Lifeline program. The Biden FCC’s Build Back Better opportunity for broadband access for low-income Americans has multiple opportunities to reverse that neglect.

  • Reform Lifeline: The Lifeline program should revert to what it was designed to be: support for low-cost telephone service. A new program should be created for broadband support that is built on 21st century internet realities—and that program should provide meaningful broadband service, not just meet the outdated FCC minimum definition.
  • Increase Lifeline Enrollment: Biden FCC can begin with an aggressive outreach program, including coordination with other government programs such as SNAP.
  • Support Online Education Everywhere: E-Rate funds that are available for connecting classrooms should be made available to help low-income students pay for access to their new classroom.
  • Encourage Internet Usage and Digital Literacy

As the Biden FCC Builds Back Better and tackles the digital divide as something more than a slogan, a wholistic solution will be required. Deployment of networks in unserved areas; subsidization of subscriptions and equipment; together with education efforts to promote internet literacy will all be necessary to make the promise of the internet manifest to all Americans.

Boosting broadband adoption Part 3 of Build Back Better with Biden FCC