FCC head delivers another blow to affordable internet program

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Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai put more pressure on the Lifeline affordable internet program, announcing that he would allow states to decide which companies are certified to participate. The announcement comes after Chairman Pai's decision earlier in 2017 to cut nine providers from the Lifeline program, which elicited criticism from groups that supported the measures.

In his new statement, Chairman Pai said that he would not defend federal certification for the Lifeline program — which subsidizes internet access for low income households — out of respect for states' own legal jurisdictions. “But as we implement the Lifeline program — as with any program we administer — we must follow the law,” Chairman Pai’s statement read. "And the law here is clear: Congress gave state governments, not the FCC, the primary responsibility for approving which companies can participate in the Lifeline program under Section 214 of the Communications Act.” Twelve states are challenging the legality of FCC’s orders regarding Lifeline. Chairman Pai said that it would be a “waste of judicial and administrative resources to defend the FCC’s unlawful action in court,” noting the “FCC will soon begin a proceeding to eliminate the new federal designation process.” Chairman Pai also said that he believed that the FCC should not approve the pending Lifeline Broadband Provider applications for broadband companies seeking to be part of the Lifeline program.

FCC head delivers another blow to affordable internet program FCC to halt expansion of broadband subsidies for poor people (ars technica) FCC's Pai to Eliminate Federal Lifeline Eligibility Program (B&C)